Early History of the RRFC
By Maurice Smith
The Richmond Rugby Football Club was born in August of 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 Meraloma 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. Among 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 just 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.
1963-64: Richmond remained competitive for several years but were forced to drop down to the 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, 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 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 of 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.
Modern History of the RRFC
By Graham Haigh
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 challenged for top of the table on a consistent basis. Culminating in winning the Fraser Valley first division 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 BC Provincial Final to Capilanos in their first ever appearance in a top flight championship game. In 2011 the club welcomed back junior girl’s rugby for the first time in 8 years, while the club and city continued 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. In 2015, the second division men lost in the BC Finals against Abbotsford at Brockton Oval. In 2018, the senior men lost in the BC 3rd Division Finals against the Squamish Axemen. In 2019, the club re-started their long dormant senior women’s team, while the men continue to participate in the Lower Mainland 3rd division.
The past was bright, the future looks brighter! Onwards and Upwards! The RRFC!
Richmond RFC National Team Honours
– Josie Anzai, Canada West Junior Women (Summer Trials – 2019)
– Ethan Bacungan, Philippines U-20 (Asian 5 Nations – 2017 to 2018)
– 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)
– Elsie Gonzalez, Mexico Senior Women (Rugby Americas North 10’s – 2017)
– Mati Gordon, Israel Senior Men’s 7’s (Rugby Europe Trophy – 2021)
– Jeremy Hamm, Canada U-17 (England Tour – 1996)
– Nathan Hirayama, Canada Senior Men’s 7’s (2006 to 2021)
– Nathan Hirayama, Canada Senior Men’s XV’s (World Cup – 2007, 2011 & 2015)
– Nolan Howell, Canada U-18 (Tour of Romania – 2014), Pacific Pride (2019-2020)
– 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)