Exeter University RFC
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|Full name||Exeter University Rugby Football Club|
|Union||Rugby Football Union|
|Founded||1860as St Luke's College|
|League(s)||Tribute Western Counties West|
|2016–17||Champions (promoted to Tribute South West 1 West)|
Exeter University Rugby Football Club (EURFC) is the rugby football club of the University of Exeter. The origins of the Exeter University Rugby Football Club can be traced back to the old sides of St Luke's College. The College was founded in 1839 with the first rugby match taking place in 1860 against Exeter Grammar School. By 1872, Exeter Rugby Football Club had been formed and the club's inaugural match was against St Luke's College, thus setting the scene for many memorable matches to follow.
By the 1950s college rugby in the United Kingdom had become a major influence upon the game as a whole. In 1957, Devon won the County Championship with St Luke's providing six members of the team. The 1960s and 1970s witnessed regular fixtures between St Luke's College and clubs such as Bristol, Gloucester, Rosslyn Park and Wasps. In 1969 annual matches, home and away, against Loughborough College were established. These games proved to be some of the most exhilarating and exciting matches played during this period and ensured that both sides would be remembered as two of the most powerful student rugby clubs of all time.
When St Luke's College finally amalgamated with the University of Exeter in 1978, many saw this as an end of an era for student rugby in the south-west of England. Although success has not been as forthcoming as it had been with the St Luke's College teams of old, the list of those students who have gone on to gain representative honours cannot be ignored. The current crop of players is one of the most exciting to have been assembled for over a decade. Much of their success and anticipated success can be attributed to the University's Sports Scholarship recruitment drive and the close links which have been forged with Exeter Chiefs Rugby Football Club.
Exeter seems to at last be regaining its former glowing reputation within the student rugby arena. Recent successes have seen the club winning the British Universities Sports Association (BUSA) 1st XV in 2001 at Twickenham, which is student sports' most prestigious competition, and the first time Exeter have ever been champions. The club also won the 2nd XV Rugby Championship in 2000 and the BUSA Sevens Competition in 1999. During the same season the Club also reached the finals of the Middlesex Sevens at Twickenham. The latter was a feat that had not been achieved for over sixteen years, and not regularly since the glory days of St Luke's College. The club now has superb strength in depth with last year's Fresher's team winning the South-West Fresher's league.
Currently, thirty-nine former students have won full international caps. Numerous others have won A, B, student and under-21 Caps. Many have played for the Barbarians and several for the British and Irish Lions. Former students Richard Hill, John Scott, David Sole and Jeff Squire have all been selected to captain their respective countries.
Off the pitch too, many students have made their mark within the game. In particular, Don Rutherford was the first professional appointment in the Rugby Football Union. He was chosen to be their first Technical Director, while Peter Drewett currently works as the head coach of Exeter Chiefs in National League 1.
This season has seen Exeter dominate South-West Rugby with the 1st XV being narrowly defeated in the BUSA Semis losing out to the eventual winners, the newly promoted 2nd XV progressing to the quarter-fFinals, defeating numerous 1st teams on route, while the future is secured with the best Freshers team in the South-West including the league top points scorer. Decorated players from the 2006–07 season include Pete Fisher (Exeter Chiefs, England Students), Jason Luff (Exeter Chiefs, England 7s), Billy Moss (England U19s World Cup Squad), Hamish Smales (England Students) and Tom Hockedy (England 7s).
- Devon Senior Cup winners (4): 1969, 1970, 1975, 1981
- Tribute Devon 2 champions: 2011–12
- Tribute Devon 1 champions: 2012–13
- Tribute Cornwall/Devon champions: 2013–14
- Tribute Western Counties West champions: 2016–17
- "DRFU Handbook 2011-12" (PDF). Devon RFU. Retrieved 30 January 2017.