University of Exeter Rugby

By | 6th June 2017

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University of Exeter Rugby

University of Exeter Rugby

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 a formidable confrontation was established with annual matches, home and away, against Loughborough College. 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. 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.