Rugby Quebec

Rugby Quebec

Rugby Québec is the popular name of the Fédération de Rugby du Québec (fromerly the Québec Rugby Union) which is is the provincial governing body for the sport of rugby union in the Canadian province of Québec. The Fédération de Rugby du Québec is affilated 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 1920's and 1930's many clubs made the transition to professional or semi-professional football. Regardless, several leagues were formed during the 1950's that were not associated with the Québec Rugby Union. This changed in the later 1960's and in the late 1970's the union officially changed its name to the Fédération de Rugby du Québec.

The FRQ has many differeing 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 "Senior Cup", the "First Division Cup", the "A Division Cup" and (formerly) the "Standard Life Cup" and can trace its origins back to the 1950's. 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

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 thru 1999 and 2002 thru 2006 and, finally, was Second Division champs in 1997 thru 1999 and 2001 thru 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 1960's challenged for many titles.
*Town of Mount Royal RFC - founded in 1954, members of this club would later found the Montreal Irish. 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 1960's.
* Montreal Irish RFC - 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 is still very popular.

New clubs

The union began to expand in the 1970's and 1980's, with its first wave of new clubs. Additionally, for a good part of the 1970's several Ottawa based rugby teams regularly completed in the QRU, including the Ottawa Indians, Ottawa Irish, Ottawa Beavers and the Ottawa Scottish. Of particular importance was the entry of the Club de Rugby Parc Olympique de Montreal into the FRQ, as it was the first primarily francophone and French speaking 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 1970's and 1980's.
* Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC - originated about 1964 with the McDonald College (the agricultural school of McGill University) team situated in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue on the western most 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 13 Senior titles (81, 83, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 07, 08) and 7 Intermediate titles (83, 86, 87, 89, 91, 92, 02.)
* 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 1970's and 1980's, after which it disbanded, not having won a title.
* 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 1980's.
* 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.
* St. Lambert Locks RFC - formed in 1984 by a group of players from Champlain College, 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 de Montreal - 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 faught seasons to eventually become a two time championship team (2005 and 2006.)

Recent Clubs

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 1988
*Barracudas Rugby de St-Jean
*Le Mirage de Gatineau - part of L’association de Rugby Régionale de l’Outaouais
* Le club de rugby de Trois-Rivières - founded in 1993
*Beauport Logers
*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 1994 and plays at du Plateau Mont-Royal.

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

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