A Brief History of the RRFC by Maurice Smith
The Richmond Rugby Football Club was born in August 1957 when a group of nine rugby enthusiasts met at the Richmond Municipal Hall in response to a small notice in the Richmond Review newspaper. Ron Cameron, who was a Municipal Engineer and had played rugby in his native Ireland and more recently for the Meralomas Rugby Club, put the notice in the local paper. The names of City of Richmond town planner Bill Kerr and Herb Douglas were also in the notice. Amongst the other founders were Mel Frith and Glen Beauchamp.
At the beginning of the club’s history there were only two divisions to play in. Several Richmond players had played a year or two for the successful Richmond Colts Secondary School team and then moved on to the Senior Men’s club. Ron Cameron pressed into service a few more athletic members of his engineering department to fill out the original squad. Richmond won its first game, played at Thomas Kidd Elementary, despite having the team reduced to 12 men.
1958-1959 – The RRFC places two teams in the VRU second division.
1959-1960 – Richmond enters the VRU first division. The club wins its first game 15-9 over Ex-Brit Lions at Steveston Secondary School. The season saw Richmond beat the Vancouver Rowing Club at Brockton Oval 5-0. Ed Lorenz scored the winning try in the game from six yards out.
1963-64 – Richmond remained competitive for several years but were forced to drop down to second division after only being able to field one team. In this season the club made the finals for the league championship. Many notable players for the club at that time included Bill Muir, Harvey Stern, Bob McMath (son of the namesake of the area high school), Roger Henniger, Mel Frith, Bill Anderson, and Ron O’Sullivan. Ray Ruttan, Jack Gilmore, Jack Scollan and Jack Lasko were also prominent members of the Richmond community who played at this point in time. Abe Snidanko, of Cheech and Chong fame, a tough and effective utility player for the RRFC was also a member of the RCMP narcotics squad.
1966 – Jerry Lorenz (Ed’s younger brother who later played for BC) debuts for Canada against the British & Irish Lions in Toronto. Jerry would also score a try against the NZ All Blacks during his international career.
1968 – The Hugh McRoberts junior rugby team continued their unbeaten streak to seven games thanks to a tie playing a hard fought game at Magee Secondary School in Vancouver. The score was 3-3.
1971 – Senior club dues were set at $10.00 and student playing dues were set at $5.00.
1974 – Jim Donaldson starts at #6 for British Columbia in the Western Canada Inter-Provincial Rugby Championships.
1981 – Geraldine “Ged” Griffiths begins her career with the RRFC which culminates in three caps for Canada’s Senior Women’s team.
1991 – The RRFC fields four teams for the first time in its history
1992 – Richmond wins the BC Third Division championship after losing in the finals in 1991.
1994 – Richmond wins the first of four straight Fraser Valley U-18 titles
1995 – The RRFC wins the Fraser Valley Second Division crown.
Since the dawn of the new millennium, Richmond has become a competitive entity in the re-vamped Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland leagues. Since making the playoffs in both divisions in 2004, the club has been near or at the top of the table. Culminating in winning the league in 2008, and winning a provincial division 2 championship in 2009, the club has been growing in stature and ability for the past 15 years. In 2010, the club won two junior championships and in 2011, the men’s first division lost in the Provincial Final to Capilanos in their first ever appearance in a top flight championship game. In 2015 the club lost to Abbotsford in the second division Provincial Final. In 2011, the club welcomed back girl’s rugby for the first time in 8 years, while off the field the club and city continues to place players on Regional, Provincial and National teams, not to mention the high number of Richmondites playing rugby at post-secondary institutions across the country.
The past was bright, the future looks brighter! Onwards and Upwards! Go The RRFC!
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List of Recent Richmond RFC Player Honours
– Linc Bowman, Canada Wolverines Rugby League (vs. England – 2013)
– Harjun Gill, Canada U-20 (Junior World Trophy – 2014)
– Geoff Girling, Canada Maple Leaf 7’s (Las Vegas Invitational 7’s – 2015)
– Jeremy Hamm, Canada U-17 (England Tour – 1996)
– Nathan Hirayama, Canada Senior Men’s 7’s (IRB Circuit – 2006 to 2015)
– Nathan Hirayama, Canada Senior Men’s XV’s (World Cup – 2007, 2011 & 2015)
– Nolan Howell, Canada U-18 (Tour of Romania – 2014)
– Ryan Hummel, Canada U-19 (Scotland Tour – 1997), U-21 (Various – 1998)
– Alex Kam, Canada U-20 (Junior World Trophy – 2010)
– Mike Livingston, Canada U-19 (NAWIRA Qualifying Tournament – 2004)