Oxford University Rugby Football Club (OURFC) has a long and illustrious history of sporting distinction and remains one of the world’s leading and most renowned amateur rugby clubs.
Founded in 1869, some fifteen months before the foundation of the Rugby Football Union, the story of rugby in Oxford is nearly as old as that of rugby itself. During this time, more than 300 Oxford players have gained representative International honours; including Phil de Glanville, Joe Roff, Tyrone Howe, Anton Oliver, Simon Halliday, David Kirk and Rob Egerton. Oxford remains a breeding ground for Internationals our two most recent being Tom Mitchell (England 7’s Captain) and Will Rowlands (Wales) who received his first cap in the 2020 Six Nations.
WILLIAM WEB ELLIS
Since its formation, OURFC has played a significant role in the development of rugby and the various major changes the game has undertaken since its formation 125 years ago. William Webb Ellis, the alleged inventor of the game, was in fact a student at Brasenose College in 1825. In more recent times OURFC has not been shy to lead the way on matters both on and off the field, shown by the initiative taken in being the first Western rugby team to tour Japan after the Second World War in 1951 under the leadership pf Peter Fitzgerald. Oxford continues to be recognised as a breeding ground for academically gifted players, and as a club that embraces and preserves the traditional core values of the sport. Thus Oxford holds an almost unique combination of great academic achievement and British sporting tradition.
MAJOR STANLEY SELECT XV
A household name in OURFC circles is that of Major R V Stanley, who was fondly known as “Uncle” amongst the players. He was a local man who took a great deal of interest in Oxford rugby, and through this became an England selector. He was a committed servant to the club, organising the 1894 Varsity match and fulfilling every possible role on the committee over a lengthy period spanning most of his life. As a tribute to his services, the Blues still play a Major Stanley Select XV every year in the lead up to the Varsity Match.
THE OUWRFC AND OURFC MERGER
In May 2015 the Oxford University Women’s Rugby Football Club – OUWRFC – officially became part of OURFC to form one ‘University Rugby Club’ with both men’s and women’s teams, in December of that same year the first Women’s Varsity Match to take place at Twickenham was won by Cambridge. OURFC currently has three men’s teams – the Blues, Greyhounds (2nd XV) and Whippets (3rd XV), whilst the women have two – the Blues and the Panthers (2nd XV). All five teams are ‘Open Age’, and play a Varsity Match against their respective Cambridge opposition, in addition there is a Men’s U20’s Varsity Match which forms part of a Double Header with the Women’s 2nd XV Varsity Match.
In season 2019/20 the club celebrated it’s 150th season with a number of events, including an Anniversary Dinner at the Hurlingham Club, London where in excess of 450 past players and guests celebrated the club’s illustrious history. Here’s to the next 150 years!