|Full name||Harlequin Football Club|
|Ground(s)||Twickenham Stoop (Capacity: 14,816)|
|Director of Rugby||Conor O'Shea|
|2013–14||4th (playoff semi-finalist)|
The Harlequin Football Club (Harlequins or Quins for short) are an English rugby union team who play in the top level of English rugby, the English Premiership. Their ground in London is The Twickenham Stoop. For sponsorship reasons they were formerly known as NEC Harlequins, but principal sponsorship is currently held by DHL, Adidas and IG.
Between 2006 and 2011, the club shared its stadium with the rugby league team London Broncos, who were known during this period as Harlequins Rugby League and used a similar kit to the rugby union side.
In 2009 the club's reputation was seriously tarnished by its abuse of the blood-substitution, in an incident which became known as Bloodgate. Since then Harlequins have worked hard to re-establish their good name. They were crowned winners of the European Challenge Cup in 2011, the English Premiership for the first time, in 2012 and won the LV= Cup in 2013.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Formation and early years
- 1.2 1961, first East Africa tour
- 1.3 Acquisition of The Stoop
- 1.4 League rugby and the professional era
- 1.5 2007–08 season
- 1.6 2008–09 season
- 1.7 2009–10 season
- 1.8 2010–11 season
- 1.9 2011–2012 season
- 1.10 2012–2013 season
- 1.11 2013-2014 Season
- 1.12 2014-2015 Season
- 2 Stadium
- 3 "Bloodgate" cheating scandal
- 4 Current squad
- 5 Current Academy squad
- 6 Coaching Staff
- 7 Academy Coaching Staff
- 8 Notable former players
- 9 Club Honours
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Formation and early years
The Hampstead Football Club was founded in 1866 and the first recorded game took place in 1867. The club was renamed Harlequin Rugby Football Club in 1870, supposedly because the membership was no longer purely local but the HFC monogram had to be retained. The word 'Harlequin' was found in a dictionary and all present agreed to the new name. This caused a split in the membership and the half that did not form the Harlequins went off and formed the club now known as the Wasps.
During its first 40 years the club played at a total of 15 venues. Since 1909, they have only played at three.
In 1906, the club was invited by the Rugby Football Union to use the new national stadium in Twickenham. In those early days, only one or two internationals were played there during the season, and before long Twickenham became the headquarters of the Harlequin Football Club.
1961, first East Africa tour
In 1961, Harlequins undertook a tour of East Africa in conjunction with Pretoria Harlequins from South Africa, as guests of the Kenya Harlequin F.C. and the Rugby Football Union of East Africa; the club won five and drew one. The tour is notable for two facts, it was the first time that three sister clubs of the Harlequin family all played each other in a coordinated series of matches and at 19 days it was the longest overseas tour undertaken by a British club up to that time. Despite this, the tour pales to insignificance when it is realised the Pretoria club spent four weeks in East Africa playing eight matches and another in Rhodesia on the way home.
The London club arrived at Entebbe airport at dawn on 4 May and opened their tour with a 44–13 win against Uganda in Kampala on 6 May. They played West Kenya Province at Kitale (winning 24–6), and the Pretoria Harlequins on Saturday 13 May at the RFUEA ground, Nairobi (winning 13 – 11). The next two matches were played at the same location, beating the host club 16–0 the next day and earning a 9-all tie against Kenya Central Province on Wednesday 17 May. The last match for the London club was against Kenya at Nakuru on Saturday 20 May (winning 8–0). This last match was played under a typical "long-rains" shower that, though heavy, did not soften the hard ground enough to be a problem.
The team was seen off by a huge crowd of the Kenya rugby fraternity, departing from Nairobi airport on the evening of 23 May. Touching down to refuel in Entebbe after midnight, they found that a large contingent of the Ugandan rugby scene had turned up at the airport to wave them on their way.
Acquisition of The Stoop
In 1963, Harlequin acquired an athletics ground with 14 acres (57,000 m²) just over the road from the Twickenham ground, which became its training pitch. This subsequently become their home: the Stoop Memorial Ground which in 2005 was renamed The Twickenham Stoop. This is named after Adrian Dura Stoop, who won 15 caps for England and is said[by whom?] to have been the person who developed modern back play.
League rugby and the professional era
With the introduction of leagues in 1987 bringing a more competitive environment, Harlequins maintained their status in the Premier Division as one of England's top 12 clubs until 2005.
The club has won the Rugby Football Union clubs knockout competition on two occasions: the John Player Cup in 1988 and Pilkington Cup in 1991. In addition, they played in the finals of 1992, 1993 and 2001.
Harlequins hold the world record for providing the most players from one club (8) in a Rugby World Cup final. In the second ever RWC final at Twickenham in November 1991, seven Harlequin players appeared for England (Will Carling, Simon Halliday, Jason Leonard, Brian Moore, Paul Ackford, Mickey Skinner, Peter Winterbottom) and Troy Coker played in the Australian pack.
They are also affiliated with an amateur team, Harlequin Amateurs.
Harlequins became the first British team to win the European Shield in 2001, defeating Narbonne 42–33 in the final. They then became the first team to win the tournament twice, defeating Montferrand 27–26 in the final of the renamed Parker Pen Challenge Cup on 22 May 2004.
In 2005 they were relegated to National Division One after finishing at the bottom of the Zurich Premiership. In July of that year they announced that they would be establishing a partnership with rugby league club London Broncos, which saw the two clubs sharing Harlequins home ground of The Stoop from the start of the 2006 Super League season. As part of the deal, the Broncos changed their name to Harlequins Rugby League, though the two clubs remain under separate ownership.
In 2005–06, Quins utterly dominated National Division One. They won 25 of their 26 league matches, including their first 19, losing only at Exeter Chiefs on 25 February 2006. Quins also averaged nearly 40 points per match, scored four or more tries in 20 matches, and racked up an average victory margin of slightly over 25 points. They secured their return to the Premiership on 1 April with four matches to spare, crushing Sedgley Park 65–8 while the only team with a mathematical chance of pipping them for the title, Bedford, lost 26–23 at Exeter.
For the 2008 tour to New Zealand, England coach Martin Johnson selected four Harlequin players to play for the tour, Nick Easter, David Strettle, Mike Brown and Danny Care. Also five Harlequin players were selected for the England Saxons Barclays Churchill Cup matches to the USA and Canada. Tom Guest, Chris Robshaw, Adrian Jarvis, Ugo Monye and Will Skinner were all selected with Will Skinner chosen as captain for the side.
In the 2007–08 season Harlequins won 12 of their 22 Guinness Premiership matches and finished 6th in the league. Harlequins got off to a shaky start which saw them be in 2nd, 3rd 4th place consecutively, and during the latter half of the season Halequins managed to reach 3rd after a string of 7 out of 9 wins, but three defeats from London Irish, Sale Sharks and Leicester Tigers to finish the season meant that Quins dropped to 6th and missed out on the play offs.
Two Harlequins players were short-listed for awards, Danny Care and Chris Robshaw, were short-listed for the Land Rover Discovery of the Season award. As well as Coach Dean Richards being short-listed for the O2 Director of Rugby of the Season as well as Tom Guest being nominated for MBNA Try of the Season for his try against Leeds Carnegie on Sunday 13 April 2008.
Players to leave Quins at the end of the 2007–08 season were Adrian Jarvis, Hal Luscombe, Chris Hala'ufia, Paul Volley, Nicholas Spanghero, Simon Keogh, Ricky Nebbett and Ryan Manyika. For the 2008–09 season Quins signed five new players; London Irish centre Gonzala Tiesi, Ulster Back-row forward Neil McMillan, Auckland Blues fly-half Nick Evans, Tongan international Epi Taione who plays on wing, centre and back row and Fijian utility back Waisea Luveniyali.
In the 2008-09 Heineken Cup Harlequins came top of their pool, including beating Stade Français both at home (thanks to a dramatic last play drop goal from Nick Evans) and away in front of 80000 people in the Stade de France in Paris. They lost 5–6 at the Stoop to eventual tournament winners Leinster Rugby at the quarter final stage, a match in which the infamous Bloodgate Scandal took place.
The contrast between this season and the previous season could hardly have been greater. With the shadow of Bloodgate still hanging over the club, the club struggled to an 8th place finish despite retaining most of the players from their successful previous campaign. They also made a swift exit from the Heineken Cup at the group stages while failing to chalk up a single victory in the competition. Owing to the club's lower league position, they failed to qualify for the competition for the first time in three years.
Quins also hosted their second "Big Game" at Twickenham. Despite losing 20–21 to "London" Wasps, the game attracted 76000 spectators.
Following the resignation of Dean Richards in August 2009, Conor O'Shea was appointed Director of Rugby in March 2010.
Harlequins endured a mixed 2010–11 season, which was characterised by inconsistency. They finished seventh in the league, which was insufficient to ensure Heineken Cup qualification. However, they proved their potential with some inspiring performances on their way to the Amlin Cup final. This included a historic win away against Munster in the semi-final, where they became only the second club to beat the Irish province at home in a European Competition. Harlequins won the final (19–18) against Stade Français to win its 3rd Amlin Cup.
Harlequins started the season well, winning their first ten premiership games before losing to Saracens at Twickenham Stadium in "Big Game 4" in front of a then club record for a premiership crowd, consisting of 82,000. Saracens went on to break the record again in the reverse game at Wembley Stadium with an attendance figure of 83,761, a game which Harlequins won. The club's results after the defeat to Saracens continued to be generally strong, with only three other defeats in the regular season and the club went on to finish top of the league. They played Northampton Saints at the Twickenham Stoop on 12 May 2012, a match which they won thanks to a 25–23 victory sealed with a try in the 77th minute by Joe Marler. Harlequins beat Leicester Tigers on 26 May 2012, in the Premiership final at Twickenham Stadium to win their first Aviva Premiership title with a score of 30–23 in front of an 81,779 crowd. Tom Williams and Chris Robshaw scored the tries and Nick Evans scored 20 points through penalties and a conversion. Chris Robshaw was named man of the match.
During this season, Harlequins played in the Heineken Cup thanks to their victory in the Amlin Cup the season before. However, they lost out on a quarter final spot in the last game of the pool stage after a defeat to Connacht. Subsequently, they went into the Amlin Cup competition but were resoundingly beaten by Toulon. Harlequins also played in the LV= Cup but did not make it out of their group with two wins and two losses.
Harlequins started their 2012–2013 season with four straight wins before suffering a first setback at the hands of Saracens at home in round 5 and at Exeter Chiefs in round 6. The club then managed to stay within the first two places of the table. On 29 December Big Game 5 proved to be a success with a 26–15 win over London Irish before a capacity crowd of 82,000 at Twickenham Stadium. Later in the season, the second setback came in the return game against Exeter when the Chiefs defeated Harlequins. The slide continued as they suffered back-to-back defeats against Saracens and Gloucester. They secured their place in the play offs, but lost to Leicester at Welford Road in the semi final 33–16.
Having qualified for the 2012-13 Heineken Cup on the virtue of their 2012 English Premiership title, Harlequins produced a strong showing in the pool stage, remaining unbeaten in pool 3 against Biarritz Olympique, Connacht Rugby and Zebre to be granted #1 seed for the quarter finals. However, they lost to #8 seed Munster at home 12–18 in the quarter final.
The LV= Cup featured a Harlequins team stripped of its players on international duty. Relying on a team of developing players, the club remained unbeaten throughout the pool stage. Harlequins beat Bath Rugby (31–23) in the semi-final at The Stoop, and defeated and Sale Sharks (32–14) in the final at Sixways Stadium. This was Harlequins' third title in the English/Anglo-Welsh Cup and the first since the inception of the Anglo-Welsh format. This title granted Harlequins a place in the 2013-14 Heineken Cup.
Harlequins made a disappointing start to the new season suffering two defeats in their opening two home games against Northampton and Saracens. Injuries stalled their start to the season, and they found themselves in seventh after five games. Their season did eventually improve and they did begin to challenge for a top four spot. But four consecutive away defeats set them back again. They were left in sixth place, six points behind fourth, with four games left to play. A series of several closely fought wins including a try bonus point in the penultimate game against Exeter Chiefs ensured they would face a winner takes all home tie against Bath in the final round of the regular season. A 19-16 win in this game saw them march on to a semi-final at Allianz Park having finished level on points with Bath but crucially winning one more game. Saracens won the semi-final to end Quins' hopes, beating them 31-17.
Heineken Cup and Europe
Harlequins also made a poor start in Europe suffering a 26-33 home defeat against Scarlets before being beaten at Clermont Auvergne. They came back with back to back wins over Racing Metro. They lost their next home game against Clermont after they lost a 13-3 lead. They did win their last game at Scarlets to secure a place in the second tier Amlin Challenge Cup competition. They won their quarter final 29-6 at Stade Francais, but lost to Northampton Saints in the next round.
Harlequins managed just one win out four in a disappointing campaign, their win came in a game that had to be called off in the 67th minute due to dangerous weather against Leicester. They suffered the defeats against Exeter, Sale and Cardiff.
Harlequins were inconsistent at the start of the season and won half of their opening six games before heading into Europe.
European Rugby Champions Cup
Harlequins beat Castres Olympique in the first ever European Rugby Champions Cup match before an away win at Wasps and defeating Leinster at home. However, subsequent losses away to Leinster, and then at home to Wasps ensured Harlequins finished third in their group and were knocked out of the tournament.
Harlequins play at the Twickenham Stoop, which is situated in Twickenham in south-west London. The stadium is named after former England international Adrian Stoop, who was a Harlequins player and later president of the club.
The club acquired the then athletics pitch in 1963, a ground of 14 acres (57,000 m2), close by to the RFU ground. It became the training pitch, and eventually, the Harlequins home ground. The site provided a ground that could be developed, and since then much has been done in terms of upgrading with a current capacity of 14,800. The stadium was known as the Stoop Memorial Ground for many years, but it was renamed the Twickenham Stoop in 2005. They also play one game at Twickenham Stadium each December called the Big Game.
"Bloodgate" cheating scandal
During the quarter final of the 2009 Heineken Cup against Leinster, Harlequins wing Tom Williams came off the field with what turned out to be a faked blood injury in order to facilitate a tactical substitution of a place-kicker, which could have landed the club a place in the Heineken Cup semi-final. An investigation by the ERC and the RFU revealed that blood injuries had also been faked by Harlequins to enable tactical substitutions on four previous occasions. These findings resulted in a twelve-month ban for Williams – reduced to 4 months on appeal, a three-year ban for former director of rugby Dean Richards and a two-year ban for physiotherapist Steph Brennan as well as a £260,000 fine for the club. The club chairman Charles Jillings subsequently tendered his resignation while the club doctor Wendy Chapman was suspended by the GMC for cutting Williams's lip to hide his use of the blood capsule. On 2 September 2009, it was reported that the disgraced Harlequins club had narrowly escaped being thrown out of the Heineken Cup following the scandal when the board of organisers European Rugby Cup (ERC) said it approved of the bans and fines already handed out.
The affair was dubbed by many in the media "Bloodgate" and has left the club with a reputation as 'cheats' with three proven incidents of the medical staff colluding with coach Dean Richards to abuse the blood-substitution rule. The rule was brought in to help with player welfare but was shown to have been abused by former policeman Richards, along with Dr Wendy Chapman, who was later severely reprimanded by the Medical Council.
2014-15 Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.
Current Academy squad
Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.
|Director of Rugby||Conor O'Shea |
|Head Coach||John Kingston |
|First Team Coach||Tony Diprose |
|Assistant First Team Coach||Mark Mapletoft |
|Assistant First Team Coach||Collin Osborne |
|Head of Rugby Operations||Graeme Bowerbank |
|Head Training and Conditioning Coach||John Dams |
|Head Physiotherapist||Andy Reynolds|
|Head of Performance Analysis||Ed Spokes |
Academy Coaching Staff
|Academy Manager||Tony Diprose |
|Academy Head Coach||Howard Graham |
|Assistant Academy Coach||Jim Evans |
|Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach||Tim Hall |
|Academy Physiotherapist||Adam Roberts |
|Academy Analyst||Kevin Gill |
|Academy Administrator||Louise Ryan |
|Head of Harlequins Sussex School of Rugby||Richard Sigs |
|Head of Harlequins Surrey School of Rugby||Lorca O'Brien |
Notable former players
||This list of "famous" or "notable" persons has no clear inclusion or exclusion criteria. Please help to define clear inclusion criteria and edit the list to contain only subjects that fit those criteria. (June 2012)|
- Pablo Bouza
- Gonzalo Camacho
- Agustín Costa Repetto
- Gonzalo Tiesi
- David Wilson
- Gareth Rees
- Paul Ackford
- Simon Amor
- Douglas Bader
- Chtis Butcher
- Keith "Billy" Bushell
- Will Carling
- Paul Challinor
- John Cole
- W.P.C. Davies
- Tony Diprose
- Nick Duncombe
- Ben Gollings
- Andy Gomarsall
- Will Greenwood
- "Curly" Hammond
- Bob Hiller
- Nick Kennedy
- Jason Leonard
- Bob Lloyd
- Dan Luger
- Brian Moore
- Andy Mullins
- James Percival
- Ronald Poulton-Palmer
- Michael Arthur Frank Raw
- V.G. Roberts
- Marcus Rose
- Paul Sackey
- Pat Sanderson
- Jamie Salmon
- Chris Sheasby
- Mickey Skinner
- Nigel Starmer-Smith
- Micky Steele-Bodger
- Adrian Stoop
- David Strettle
- Wavell Wakefield
- Percival Wilkinson
- Sir Clive Woodward
- Mike Worsley
- Paul Volley
- Teddy Wakelam
- Waisea Luveniyali
- Laurent Bénézech
- Laurent Cabannes
- Thierry Lacroix
- Paul Burke
- Maurice Daly
- Gavin Duffy
- Neil McMillan
- Patrick C.R. Orr
- Mike Ross
- Jim Staples
- Lewis Stevenson
- Keith Wood
- Niall Woods
- Massimo Cuttitta
- Zinzan Brooke
- Earle Kirton
- Andrew Mehrtens
- Maurie Fa'asavalu
- Tani Fuga
- George Harder
- James Johnston
- Steven So'oialo
- Craig Chalmers
- Eric Peters
- William Cuthbertson
- André Vos
- Diego Zarzosa
- Epi Taione
- Tom Billups
- Tom Cheeseman
- Dafydd James
- Ceri Jones
- Olly Kohn
- Gareth Llewellyn
- Hal Luscombe
- Johnnie Williams
- Aviva A League 2004, 2013
- Aviva Premiership 2012
- European Shield / Parker Pen Challenge Cup / Amlin Cup 2001, 2004, 2011
- Middlesex Sevens 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1933, 1935, 1967, 1978, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2008
- Glengarth Sevens Davenport Plate 1986
- Melrose Sevens 1987
- John Player Cup / Pilkington Cup / LV= Cup 1988, 1991, 2013
- Powergen National Trophy 2006
- National Division One 2006
- U19 National Trophy 2005
- Herts/Middlesex 3 South champions: 2002-03
- Herts/Middlesex 2 South champions (2 times): 2004-05, 2007–08
- "Etihad makes rugby debut with Harlequins". www.quins.co.uk. Retrieved 4 August 2009.
- Cleary, Mick (20 May 2011). "Harlequins 19 Stade Francais 18". Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- Rees, Paul (20 May 2011). "Harlequins 19 Stade Francais 18". Guardian (London). Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- Averis, Mike (12 May 2012). "Harlequins 25–23 Northampton". The Guardian (London).
- AFP Quins escape further action in bloodgate scandal. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
- Harlequins have let down all of rugby, Chris Roycroft-Davis, The Times, 18 August 2009
- Quins chairman falls on his sword over 'Bloodgate' The Independent, 29 August 2009
- 'Bloodgate' doctor is suspended BBC News, 16 September 2009
- "Harlequins avoid ban from Europe". BBC Sport. 2 September 2009. Retrieved 2 September 2009.
- "Aviva Premiership Rules FAQ". Premiershiprugby.com. Retrieved July 2012.
- "ERC Rules Summary". Ercrugby.com. Retrieved July 2012.
- Marchant Joins Harlequins Academy http://www.quins.co.uk/news/8508.php Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- Conor O'Shea. "Harlequins :Conor O'Shea". quins.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- John Kingston. "Harlequins :John Kingston". quins.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- Tony Diprose. "Harlequins :Tony Diprose". quins.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- Mark Mapletoft. "Harlequins :Mark Mapletoft". quins.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- Collin Osborne. "Harlequins :Collin Osborne". quins.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- Graeme Bowerbank. "Harlequins :Graeme Bowerbank". quins.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- John Dams. "Harlequins :John Dams". quins.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- Ed Spokes. "Harlequins :Ed Spokes". quins.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- Howard Graham. "Harlequins :Howard Graham". quins.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- Jim Evans. "Harlequins :Jim Evans". quins.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- Tim Hall. "Harlequins :Tim Hall". quins.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- Adam Roberts. "Harlequins :Adam Roberts". quins.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- Kevin Gill. "Harlequins :Kevin Gill". quins.co.uk. Retrieved November 2012.
- Louise Ryan. "Harlequins :Louise Ryan". quins.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- Richard Sigs. "Harlequins :Richard Sigs". quins.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- Lorca O'Brien. "Harlequins :Lorca O'Brien". quins.co.uk. Retrieved July 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Harlequin F.C..|
- Official website
- Harlequin Ladies team
- Harlequin Amateurs Rugby Football Club
- Quins' All Time Premiership Records (Statbunker)