Millwall Rugby Club
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|Full name||Millwall Rugby Club|
|Founded||1995 as Millwall Albion|
|Location||Bow, Tower Hamlets, London, England|
|Ground(s)||Millwall Park & Hackney Marshes (Capacity: Limitless)|
|President||Jim Fitzpatrick MP|
|Captain(s)||Tom Bradfield (Men's) & Jo Sicler (Ladies')|
|League(s)||Essex League 1|
Millwall Rugby Club is an English amateur rugby union team. The men's first team was born from Millwall Albion RUFC who were formed in 1995 on the Isle of Dogs. Also known as Millwall RFC or Millwall RUFC.
Millwall currently play their home games at Millwall Park or on Victoria Park (also known as Fortress Vicky), which is located in Bow. There is a First XV and also a 2nd men's XV called the "Llamas", a 3rd men's XV unofficially dubbed the "Pumas" and since 2009 a 4th XV has also been entered in the Essex BL Merit Table. Hackney Marshes is also used on the rare occasions that 3 or more teams are playing at home on the same day. As well as adult men's rugby, there is a women's team called Venus and a very successful youth section called the Millwall Lions.
Millwall Albion Rugby Union Football Club was founded in 1995 by Billy Canaway and Billy Lancaster, initially started as a small, informal collection of local men sharing a common interest following on from the 1995 Rugby World Cup Bill. Interest quickly began to grow and as more people joined in sessions on Millwall Park and it was decided to formalise things into a registered and RFU affiliated Rugby Club. From humble beginnings using borrowed shirts and as more funds came in it was possible to buy proper rugby kit and the recognisable black, white and red strip became a fixture in the local area. Millwall Rugby Club quickly gained players and in September 1996 was granted league status and accepted into Division 5 of the Eastern Counties Rugby Union (the regional organisers of rugby in an area covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex) winning the division in its first season.
After an unprecedented season in 2006/07 many players and coaching staff were acquired by another very successful rugby club. This led to a player shortage on all fronts but was also the catalyst for many players from the other teams within the club to show their worth and many of these players have now made the positions and teams their own. Although all teams within the club struggled for the first season after many departures, they have all gone on to dominate their respective leagues within the Essex County setup.
In the summer of 2003, 18 players from the Adult Section of the club volunteered to take the training course to become qualified as RFU Level 1 (Youth) Coaches to help get a Youth Section up and running. Jamie Rockman, who was also running the Adult 1st team at the time, agreed to become the club's first "Youth Chair".
November 2003 saw a very successful "Tag Rugby Festival" at which over 150 local Year 6 children attended, representing 6 local schools. In December 2005 Pat Salmon took over as 'Youth Chair', and after completing her coaching training in January 2006, she took on the coaching too.
In the years since, former Club Chairman Matt Shorrock has been running the youth section and through successful recruitment of enthusiastic volunteers, Millwall Lions have gone from strength to strength, fielding teams in many different age groups with fantastic results including Under 10, 13, 15 & 17’s. Millwall Lions now boasts over 30 volunteers helping with the running and management of the youth section.
England v Rest Of the World day
Every year at the end of the regular season an intra-club men's game is played between all the English players of the club and the players from elsewhere. Early matches saw several England victories but recent results have been thoroughly dominated by the ‘Rest Of the World’ teams, who chalked up their tenth consecutive victory in 2013. The game is often played amongst the Ladies/Venus section with England winning most recent encounters (though this reversed in 2013). Commonly referred to as 'Rest of the World Day', the day is formally known as 'Festival of Rugby Day' and also involves teams from all areas of the youth section on what is always a well-mannered and strongly attended fun day out for all the family.
After election of following-season officers at the AGM, the season is rounded off by an annual dinner and awards ceremony at the Palace of Westminster hosted by the Honorary President of Millwall Rugby Club, Jim Fitzpatrick MP.
During the offseason, the club hosts summer touch rugby and occasionally opens to screen international tests in the Southern Hemisphere. Pre-season training typically recommences in July.
In 2007 Millwall acquired the disused railway arches on Millwall Park next to Island Gardens DLR station. Work began in August 2007 with the removal of old equipment that had been laid unused for nearly 20 years. Over the next 2 years walls, floors, piping and new facilities were all laid down. The work was only made possible by the help from many committed volunteers and the clubhouse eventually had its official opening day on 28 March 2009. In 2009 Millwall RFC were granted permission from the Tower Hamlets Burough Council to play adult men’s rugby on Millwall Park in front of the clubhouse. This was an historic occasion for the club and home matches are now attended by many local spectators on Saturday afternoons.
- Eastern Counties 5 champions: 1996-97
- East Counties 4 champions: 1998-99
- Essex 3 champions: 2003-04
- Essex Spitfire 2 champions (2): 2006-07, 2008–09
- Essex Presidents Shield winners (2): 2006-07, 2008–09
- Official site
- Millwall Lions
- Millwall Venus
- Facebook Site
- Millwall Rugby Club Twitter
- Venus Rugby Club Twitter
- Millwall Lions Twitter