European Military Rugby Leadership

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Brief European Military Rugby History

(2017) Our history goes back to the mists of the Cold War, and it is mostly that – “Histories” – as there are only 2-3 teams left (a/o 2017). There were over 30 teams (closer to 40?) that started/stopped over the years – starting with the 3AD FARC in the winter of 73-74.

American teams were not allowed to play in the German Club system (Bundesliga)as only 3 foreigners were allowed to play in the first division. In 1979, the British in Munich formed a Bavarian RFU that included American military sides from Nuernberg, Bamberg, Ansbach, Bad Toelz and Augsburg. Later that year, the 3rd Armor Division (Frankfurt Americans) formed the Exiles Rugby Football Association with teams from Darmstadt, Wuerzburg, Karlesruhe and Kaiserslautern.

The USFERU officially started in 1982 absorbing the one year on-paper “Exiles Association”, which was itself an idea to copy the “original” Bavarian Rugby Union (1979-1981) in the east of southern Germany and spread it throughout Germany where we had teams. Harry Laws was the first President of the Exiles and later, David McNaughton was picked as the President of the newly formed USFERU just before/after the first USFERU Tourney was hosted in Illesheim (themselves only one year old at the time) in the late spring of 1982. USFERU boasted I think 18 teams in League play at once at its apex, and in the mid-late 80’s we had 12 teams consistently showing up to the big tourneys – originally in spring (host moved around), and later also in the fall (mostly in Wuerzburg).

The USFERU stopped league/cup play and the bigger tournaments in 1995, although there were a number of smaller get-together tourneys all the way up to the early 2000’s. We also put out various Selects for most of the 80’s. See here for some of the documents of the US Forces Europe Rugby Union and here for documentation of league results

This is a List of rugby union clubs in Germany. It lists all rugby union clubs in Germany registered with the German Rugby Federation, the DRV,[1] or taking part in the German league system.[2] As of April 2010, the International Rugby Board lists the number of clubs in Germany at 110.[3]

ADDENDUM: Some of the clubs competing in the German league system are clubs of the US and British armed forces in Germany and therefore not necessarily members of the DRV. Examples of US Army rugby clubs in Germany are the teams in Illesheim,[4] Ramstein and Vilseck, while other clubs, like in the RC Kaiserslautern, recruit some of their players from the US forces but have German players as well.[[1]] Up to 32 US forces teams had been playing in Southern Germany at its peak, based in Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, being organised in the "United States Forces Europe Rugby Union" (USFERU). Most disappeared with the withdrawal of US forces from Germany at the end of the Cold War. A number of clubs remained but have since dropped out of the German league system, like the Bamberg RFC, Darmstadt 233rd BSB RFC, Hanau Hornets, Schweinfurt RFC, Spangdahlem RFC and Würzburg RFC, while a few, like the Ramstein Rogues RFC, Illesheim RFC and Baumholder RFC still compete in 2009-10.


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