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|History of Davis Rugby|
At the conception the club was not considered an authorized sport and could not officially use any campus facilities (although they did) or use the name of the University. It was called the Davis Rugby club. However, through Mr. Lewis' efforts, recognition was finally realized when Verne Hickey (the then Athletic Director for which the old field house and Hickey Gym are named after) realized that rugby was the only sport at Davis to host and compete against teams such as: Cal, Stanford, UCLA, Oregon, BYU, Air Force, as well as international touring sides such as Ebow Vale and Aberavon (Wales), Solihull (England), Sidney University (Australia), and many others. This realization finally lead to official university recognition and club status. The Club now refers to itself as the University of California Davis Men's Rugby Club. All of the players are required to be full time students, undergraduates in order to compete on the first side, and the Club represents the university in all league competition.
At the time of the clubs formation there was little or no statewide organization. What later became the Northern California Rugby Football Union (NCRFU) was simply a yearly scheduling meeting. It wasn't until the 1960s that the modern organization of USA rugby began to form into what is now a well organized and competitive sport. The schedule back then revolved around qualifying for the world renowned Monterey Rugby Tournament, which tragically was cancelled in the early 1990s. In fact, Davis was the only college team to qualify for the first Monterey Rugby Tournament and regularly attended in the following years.
During the early years the Club fielded strong teams, drawing from young local talent as well as attracting a long list of players, and some coaches, from around the world, most of whom were graduate students at the University. In the early years the team finished in the top four at Monterey, and won the San Francisco Tournament (now Golden Gate) and the All-Cal Tournament. Even into the early 1980s the Club had a solid program and was a constant contender in the Pacific Coast Rugby Football Union (PCRFU), matching up strongly against the perennial National Champions, U.C. Berkeley. In 1987 the Club toured New Zealand, the land of rugby, and gained a plethora of knowledge and experience. In this manner the Club learned the true meaning and traditions of rugby, both athletically and socially. There is no such sport as strongly rooted in the principles of competition and camaraderie.
U.C. Davis Rugby continued its success in the late 1980s with regular appearances in the Pacific Coast Playoffs. At that time, the Aggies also consistently received an invitation to place in the prestigious Monterey Rugby tournament, which featured 32 of the best clubs in the U.S. , as well as international competition. In 1986, the Aggies were co-champion of the All-Cal tournament with UC Berkeley. In 1987, the team pulled off a string of upsets, defeating international and Division 1 men's clubs, on its way to a fourth place finish at the Monterey tournament. Being lead by successive captains Nick Stoll, Keith Holland, and then Niall McCarthy, the Aggies regularly piled up conference wins. During this time period, these Aggie players, and many others such as Ian Sherman and Leo Fitzsimon, were chosen for select sides to face international teams. In 1989, the team toured New Zealand , the land of rugby, winning two of the three matches they played in the Southern Hemisphere.
It was in 1993 when the Club began the transformation into what it is today. Under the coaching leadership of Rob Salaber and John Riddering (J.R.), both ex-U.C. Berkeley captains and All-Americans, as well as Old Blues rugby players, the program made a turn-around in the right direction. Based on the principles of discipline, commitment and character, the team began to establish itself as one of the top collegiate rugby programs in the country.
In 1993 the Club's record was 3 wins and 5 losses. It was generally considered one of the weakest teams in the NCRFU. In stark contrast, in 1997 the team finished the season 3rd in the United States, behind Cal and Penn State. In addition, in 1996 and 1997, UC Davis produced more Collegiate All- Americans (11 total) than any other university or college in the country. Currently there are also two recent graduates, Kevin Henderson and Todd Giuntini, who both have had the honor of representing their country in international competition with the US Eagle's side. The UC Davis record, coupled with the formation of the parent and alumni support group, the Friends of Davis Rugby, and the establishment of the UC Davis Men's Rugby Endowment Fund, has truly established itself as one of the top collegiate programs in the United States. And it is fully expected that UC Davis will be one of the leaders of the sport well into the 21st century.
|Brief history of rugby|
While playing soccer at Rugby School of England in 1823, William Webb Ellis picked up the ball in his hands and ran with it. This sparked an interest, leading to the creation of rugby. Cambridge University immediately adopted the game, popularized it and made local rules. The game grew popular at area schools and in 1871, ten years after the common rules of soccer were set, the first Rugby Union was founded in London and firm rules of the game were established.
In 1895 rugby clubs in northern England called for compensation of lost wages for players. The Rugby League was founded as a result and a 13-player game with altered rules were created for professionals.
Rugby spread across the globe and competition emerged between countries. In the United States, the game emerged primarily on the West Coast. The lack of precise rules, ambiguities in the game and complexity of the sport drew a lot of United States players away from the game and major changes were invoked. In 1880 the scrum was replaced by a line of scrimmage, drawing emphasis from the free-running characteristic of the game. The game continued to play with rugby rules until 1905 where the publication of photographs of a harsh game between Sarthmore and Pennsylvania created a stir. President Theodore Roosevelt insisted on reform of the game to lower the brutality with threat of abolishing the game by edict. In 1906 the forward pass was introduced to the United States game. The rules of rugby died and the game of American football was born.
Rugby continued to flourish elsewhere, with especial regard to Britain, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Although a handful of clubs remained in the United States, rugby did not reemerge until the 1960's. College campuses turned to the sport because it was one where many could play and escape the rigid discipline and professionalism inherent in college football. Minimal costs, constant action and the opportunity for frequent play with a primary emphasis on fun also attracted many. The number of clubs grew from about 80 to over 1,000 between 1964 and 1980. The United States of America Rugby Football Union (USARFU) was formed in 1975, creating added recognition and a measure of organization. The United States of America Rugby Football Union (USARFU) has recently been renamed USA Rugby.include "_bodybottom.php"; ?>