The University of St Andrews Rugby Football Club was founded in 1858. As such, it is not only one of the oldest sports clubs at the University, but also one of the oldest rugby clubs in the world.
The club is a founder member of the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) and has produced 22 international rugby players who between them have gained 150 international caps. The women’s section of the Rugby Club was founded in 1978 and has consistently been in the top two teams in Scotland over the past decade.
To mark the 160th anniversary of the Club, a very special weekend of reunions and celebrations will take place in St Andrews in July 2018 – further information on this can be found at the bottom of this blog. But first, let’s catch up with some of our alumni and their memories of their days in the Rugby Club…
Women’s Rugby – Annabel Sergeant
Finest achievement: Completing my degree with 1st Class honours (Microelectronics and Photonics BEng) 2006-2010
Biggest influence: Family members
Sporting achievements: 17 caps for Scotland, 3 tries (Rugby Union), 4 tournament caps for Scotland, 9 tries (Rugby 7s)
Top sportsperson: Donna Kennedy – She is the world record caps holder in the women’s game with 115. She made her debut in 1993 against Ireland in what was Scotland’s first women’s international. Regardless of whether her caps record is ever surpassed, Donna is a true legend of women’s rugby.
International Honours – Chris Rea, Damian Hopley & Tyrone Howe
Chris Rea – 13 caps for Scotland, 1971 British and Irish Lions
“I was smitten by St Andrews at an early age. Ever since my father took me to watch the 1st XV play at University Park. This is the place for me, I thought.
“The memories are as vivid today as they were forty plus years ago. For a start, it was the most enjoyable rugby of my life. Training or playing six days a week, the comradeship of like-minded young men, and the after-match mayhem. The rugby itself was joyously uninhibited and of a standard high enough to compete with the best in the country.”
Damian Hopley – 3 caps for England, founder & CEO Rugby Players’ Association (RPA)
“StAURFC was full of diverse characters from all walks of like, and long may that continue. I was very fortunate to fulfil my boyhood dream and go onto represent my country at full international level, and the University played its part in both my academic and rugby education.
“Summer was my favourite time of the year to be in St Andrews. The light in the long summer evenings was incredible and whether it was playing cricket at Freuchie or Elie, or golfing on the New or Jubilee long into the evening, it was a very magical part of the world to live.”
Tyrone Howe – 14 caps for Ireland, 2001 British and Irish Lions
“As an 18 year old, who initially felt a long way from home, the University Rugby Club provided me with an immediate circle of like-minded individuals and the framework within which my life and education at St Andrews would be nurtured.
“I still love that bold symbol – the Cross of St Andrews. You knew exactly who you were representing. That was crucial for me and remained so throughout the rest of my rugby career, whether it was the crown of Oxford, the red hand of Ulster or the shamrock of Ireland.“
And so the legacy goes on …
Chris Reekie, Honorary President of StAURFC, talks about being “part of a very special group” and looks to the future of rugby at St Andrews.
“Milestones are moments that celebrate the intervening years, the effort and commitment from those have who worn the Saints shirt. Every single student who has been a member of the Rugby Club has embraced the ethos of running rugby, the fun and enjoyment, which comes from being part of a very special group. Not only when at St Andrews, but years after, and all around the world. Once a Saint, always a Saint.
“I’m proud to have coached at St Andrews, and to have been involved with the 150th Anniversary, refereeing the former students against the 1st XV, before stepping out onto the pitch for Scottish Legends against South African Legends.
“Now, as Honorary President, it gives me great pleasure to catch up with many of the players who have graced University Park, to see how much affection they have for the club and the town. Future generations will follow in the footsteps of those who precede them. I have no doubt they will share stories and memories of what it is to be a Saint, and so the legacy goes on.”
160th Anniversary Dinner
To celebrate and recognise this tradition of success and achievement, the University Rugby Club warmly invites students, alumni, supporters, friends and family to attend the 160th Anniversary Dinner on Saturday 2 June 2018 at the Fairmont Hotel, St Andrews. The evening will be hosted in partnership with the Bill McLaren Foundation, which aims to improve lives through rugby and inspire youngsters to achieve their personal best. We are delighted to bring you an evening of entertainment with former All Black captain and rugby legend Sean Fitzpatrick, and with ex-Scotland captain Rory Lawson overseeing events as master of ceremonies.
Tickets are available to buy now from the University’s Online Shop. Please note that sales will close on Friday 4th May 2018.
Accommodation: the Fairmont Hotel is kindly offering reduced rates on accommodation for guests coming to the 160th Anniversary Dinner. Reservations can be made directly with the hotel on +44 (0)1334 837046 before 1 May 2018.
Golf tournament: the celebrations will also feature a golf tournament on the Kittocks Course (Fairmont Hotel) on the afternoon of Friday 1 June, priced £60 per person. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Sponsorship: if you are interested in sponsoring the event, please contact Fergus Knight for further information.