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McGill and Rugby

Long ago, and far away from the McGill downtown campus, there once was a rugby club.

Rugby takes its name from its birthplace, the Rugby School in Rugby, England where it was first played in the early 1820s. Rugby is now an international sport played in more than 100 countries. It is the major sport in some countries, such as New Zealand and South Africa. Kids in those countries begin playing it before they start grade school. In Canada, most kids are exposed to rugby at some point in grade school through the physical education curriculum. The sport has its largest per-capita following in British Columbia due to that province's year-round playable weather.

Established in 1863, the McGill University Rugby Football Club is the oldest intercollegiate club in Canada. In 1874, our pious, humble, and rugged boys from McGill proposed the first intercollegiate rugby matches in North America, against those strapping industrialists from down south, Harvard College. McGill therefore, has North America's longest rugby tradition! The first two games were to be played in Cambridge, one under Harvard's rules, the other under McGill's rules. The third game would be played in Montreal under McGill's rules.

The first match in Cambridge was played on May 14, 1874 under the rules of "The Boston Game". Harvard won by a paltry 3-0. The next day the two teams played to a scoreless tie under McGill's rules. Harvard was so taken by McGill's rules that they adopted them. Today, the McGill and Harvard business schools celebrate this tradition by playing an Annual Fall Classic in Montreal.

Rule changes in 1880 gave birth to Canadian and American football, but rugby remains a popular high school sport to this day, especially in British Columbia, Southern Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. In Montreal, over 60 Rugby teams exist at club, collegiate, school and high-school levels.

McGill MBA RFC History
The known history of the McGill MBA Rugby Football Club dates back to the 1993 season. If you have information that pre-dates this history, please contact us at:

(courtesy of David Beveridge, MBA '95,MBA Rugby '93-'95)

The 93-94 team started as an initiative from team captain Andrew "Brew" Ross. He had heard about the Duke tournament from his brother (who had just finished an MBA at Yale) and made some inquiries which led to our first-ever invite to the tourney. Brew gathered up the MBA 1 (first-years) who played football together and asked if we were up for the tour (this was in December '93). Although more than half of the team had never played before, we mustered up about 10-15 "volunteers".

We contacted Yale, who were also short players, and agreed in principle to field a combined team. Unfortunately, Yale bailed on us a couple of weeks before the tourney and we had to recruit some extra bodies in a hurry. We got some coaching from a guy who played on the National Juniors but he couldn't join us as he had to write a final during tournament week. Due to the rather shitty & snowy weather in Montreal, we practised indoors in the "bubble" 3x/week leading up to the tourney with our first outdoor practise coming during the pre-game warm-ups before our first game in North Carolina. No exhibition games either.

In any case, Brew got a bunch of over-25's to rent enough vans to get us down to NC; we left Bronfman at around 9 PM on the Thursday and drove straight through to Durham. The most interesting part of the drive was in New Jersey when one of our German players, Carl Blomeyer, decided that the Interstates were no different than the autobahns back home and that speed limits were for pussies. Anyway, Carl's flying along doing 90 mph or so when we get pulled over. The cops come out to see a van with nine people, 10 flats of beer from the duty free (and several empties lying on the floor) and the smell of a brewery. Carl's German accent suddenly got a whole lot thicker and end the result was that the cops told us to dump out our open beers, told Carl to drive safely & let us go.

We eventually made it to Durham and checked into the hotel. Now at this point both North Carolina and Duke were all set to enter the Final Four so we went to Raleigh that night to soak up the atmosphere at UNC. Trolled around in uniform singing traditional rugby songs (greatly endearing us to the bubbleheaded beach blondes in attendance), even ran in to some of the next day's opponents and generally prepared for the three matches the next day the only way possible- lots of beer and some really sad pick-up attempts.
Anyway, I can't remember the order in which we played but we got absolutely hammered by Stanford (who had a bunch of Aussies, Kiwis and Brits in their lineup) by about 50-3. We also played Wharton and lost 30-something to three and also lost poor Carl (see above) to a broken collarbone. We also lost a closer game to Texas (20-something-9). The only "victory" we had was the next day against UNC when they defaulted.

In order to wash the bumps and bruises away, we went to the tournament dinner, which was at the same time Duke was playing their Final Four game. All I remember is that Duke won, we went through a whole lot of flaming Sambuccas and there were happy young co-eds all over the place.
As far as I remember the team was as follows:

Captain: Andrew "Brew" Ross (I also note that Brew, despite graduating in '95, was also on the 95-96 team as well as the "Mystery" team).


  • Doug "Otter" MacConnachie
  • Dave Eleiter
  • Kyle Halford
  • Martin Mertens
  • Carl Blomeyer
  • Vince Canonico
  • Duncan Ross (brew's brother)
  • Andrew Ross
  • Scott Banwell


  • Greg McMullan
  • Mark Bandrauk
  • Dave Beveridge
  • Marc Glesby
  • Bill Hoque
  • Ross "Huge" Huguesson
  • Bob Da Costa

... to be continued

© McGill MBA RFC 2006