With a keen desire to play club rugby in Washington D.C., Irishman Fred Forster pulled together a group of like-minded rugby enthusiasts and on this day in rugby history in 1963 held the first meeting of Washington Rugby Football Club.
Forster moved to Washington from California and since he did not know anyone figured the best way to find a proponent for the game was to call the New Zealand Embassy. The good thinking paid off as he was put in touch with Don Hunn who helped with the formation of the WRFC.
The first annual report said of the meeting: "Those attending were Fred, Burl Howard, and John Barstad of Bechtel's; Erwin Hirsch, the famous Argentine medic; Dick Strother, a spy from Baltimore; Harry Schupp, Admiral of the Fleet; Ralph Henke, who in a moment of weakness had agreed to let us meet in in his apartment and who later sobered up and went to live in New Orleans; and myself (i.e. Don Hunn)”
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The side played their first match on March 2, 1963, a win against Baltimore B, and posted a 6-1-11 record in the first year.
Forster eventually moved back to California and Hunn to New Zealand but the foundation was established. Before he left, Hunn presented the ‘New Zealand Cup’ for the winner of the annual competition between Washington and Baltimore.
The club has thrived over the years. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival Tournament started in 1967 and continues to be played as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.’ The first Golden Period began in 1971 and over the next three years included winning the Blume Trophy, at the time the ERU's recognition of the top club in the union, twice as well as Familton/ Green Union Trophy and the Australia Cup.
The Club's "Second Golden Period" began with an undefeated 1984 PRU season.
The club now plays in the Rugby Super League.
Check out more on the Washington Rugby Football Club.