Rugby Quebec

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Rugby Québec is the popular name of the Fédération de Rugby du Québec (formerly the Québec Rugby Union) which is the provincial governing body for the sport of rugby union in the Canadian province of Québec. The Fédération de Rugby du Québec is affiliated with the Canadian Rugby Union.

The Fédération de Rugby du Québec origins are hard to trace for two reasons. First, rugby union in Canada converged with and then later split from the game of Canadian football, often with rugby football unions representing both games, thus making an exact history hard to establish. Second, the Fédération de Rugby du Québec has not put a great emphasis on maintaining detailed historical records. This has led to gaps in its administrative and competition history and the lost information may never be known.

The Westmount Rugby Club traces its roots back to 1876 or 1878, and some sort of organized rugby has been played in Québec ever since. In the 1920s and 1930s many clubs made the transition to professional or semi-professional football. Regardless, several leagues were formed during the 1950s that were not associated with the Québec Rugby Union. This changed in the later 1960s and in the late 1970s the union officially changed its name to the Fédération de Rugby du Québec.

The FRQ has many differing levels and types of competition. There are two predominate competitions that have the longest historical record. The first is the Premier Championship Cup, which is awarded annually to the best rugby team in cup competition. This has also been known as the "Quebec Cup", Senior Cup, the First Division Cup, the A Division Cup and (formerly) the Standard Life Cup and can trace its origins back to the 1950s. The second oldest championship is the Intermediate Cup, awarded to the best club team in the second side cup competition. This has also been known as the Second Division Cup, the B Division Cup and the Des O'Neill Trophy.

Original clubs[edit]

As leagues in Montréal and the St. Lawrence Rugger and Cricket Association were formed, the first cohort of modern clubs was founded.

  • Montreal Barbarians RFC - founded in 1953 and primarily located in the West Island of Montréal, this suburban club was Québec champions in 1957, 1963 and 1964, was First Division champs in 1997 to 1999 and 2002 to 2006 and, finally, was Second Division champs in 1997 to 1999 and 2001 to 2006.
  • Westmount Rugby Club - possibly the oldest rugby club in North America, this team, once known as the Montreal (Rugby) Football Club, merged the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association and later became the Montreal Scottish RFC. After some members left to form the Wanderers and Barbarians, the club settled down in Westmount, and during its glory years in the 1960s challenged for many titles.
  • Town of Mount Royal RFC - founded in 1954, members of this club would later found the Montreal Irish Rugby Football Club. Situated in TMR and owners of its own clubhouse, this club once was a league powerhouse.
  • Montreal Wanderers RFC - founded in 1957 as an off-shoot of Westmount Rugby Club, and now located in Verdun, this team was one of the premier teams in eastern Canada during the 1960s.
  • Montreal Irish Rugby Football Club - founded in 1957, this urban based team later moved out to its own grounds and clubhouse in the rural suburbs of Montréal. Once a powerhouse, with First Division championships in 1958, 1959, 1969 and 1982, and a Second Division title in 1982. The club has more recently returned to prominence winning the Premier Division Championship in 2010 and 2011.

New clubs[edit]

The union began to expand in the 1970s and 1980s, with its first wave of new clubs. Additionally, for a good part of the 1970s several Ottawa based rugby teams regularly completed in the QRU, including the Ottawa Indians, Ottawa Irish, Ottawa Beavers, Ottawa Scottish and the Deep River Blues. Of particular importance was the entry of the Club de rugby Parc olympique into the FRQ, as it was the first primarily francophone team in the federation.

  • Ormstown Saracens RFC - formed in 1972, this was the first rural based team in the union. They challenged for and won several championships during the 1970s and 1980s. The Ormstown Saracens Rugby Football Club wear red and navy blue.
  • Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC - known commonly as "SABRFC", Ste-Anne-de-Bellvue RFC originated around 1964 as the McDonald College (the agricultural school of McGill University) team situated in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue on the westernmost part of the island of Montréal. Officially changed to Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC in 1981, they have been the dominate team in the FRQ, winning 16 Senior titles (81, 83, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 07, 08, 09, 12, 13) and 8 Intermediate titles (83, 86, 87, 89, 91, 92, 02, 09). In 2013, SABRFC's three Senior Men's teams swept the FRQ Premiership, Reserves, and Division IV leagues.
  • Montreal Grads RFC - originally the McGill Graduates, formed by grads of that university, this popular social side played at Trenholme Park in Notre Dame de Grace during the 1970s and 1980s, after which it disbanded, never winning a cup.
  • Chateauguay River Rats RFC - this successful but short lived team played on the South Shore and won one Second Division title during its time in the 1980s.
  • Beaconsfield RFC - formed in 1983 and playing in the West Island, this team took many of its talented players from the English language high schools of the area, and later progressed to the First Division. They won the 2nd Division championship in 1984 and 2007.
  • St. Lambert Locks RFC - formed in 1984 this South Shore team won the Second Division title in 1984 and 1986, and has added Senior titles in 1995, 96 and 2000.
  • Club de rugby Parc olympique - formed in 1983 and originally situated at the training field at the Olympic Stadium, this highly competitive team won several titles. Its greatest significance was that is was the first francophone team in what was predominately an anglophone organization. The formation of this team marked a true turning point in the history of rugby in Québec.
  • Brome Lake Ducks RFC - formed in 1986 and the first team to be situated in the Eastern Townships, this young club survived many enjoyable but hard fought seasons to eventually become a two time championship team (2005 and 2006.)

Recent Clubs[edit]

The FRQ experienced substantial growth in the past two decades, and has added many new clubs, especially because rugby now enjoys a much greater popularity in French language school boards.

  • Sherbrooke Abenakis RFC - founded in 1998
  • Barracudas Rugby de St-Jean sur Richelieu
  • Le Mirage de Gatineau - part of L’association de Rugby Régionale de l’Outaouais
  • Les Braves de Trois-Rivières - founded in 1993
  • Beauport Logers - which merged later with CR Quebec
  • Club de rugby les Nomades Laval-Laurentides-Lanaudières - founded in 1990, located in Laval
  • Les Patriotes du Vieux-Montréal - founded 2005
  • Club de Rugby de Québec - founded in 2001 as Club régional de Rugby de Québec, merged with Le Celtique de Ste-Foy in 2005. Won 3rd Division in 2003.
  • Rugby Club de Montréal - founded in 1995 and plays at Plateau Mont-Royal. They made it to the provincial final in 2004 and won the 1st division reserve and third finals in 2008 against SABRFC.
  • XV de Montréal - founded in 2010
  • Montreal Exiles - founded in 2011
  • Chelsea RFC - founded in 2005

Two teams, the Chateauguay Hammerheads and Hudson Highlanders, played at the turn of the century, but have folded.

Men's Quebec Champions[edit]

References[edit]