Royals Rugby Club History
Canberra Royals Rugby Club has dominated the ACT competition for the last 70 years.
1983 Tour of New Zealand
In 1983 Royals toured the south island of New Zealand. Dougal Whitton organised the tour, with 44 players spending 10 days to help meld winning club combinations. The highlight was a 20-16 win over Christchurch club, Burnside.
The mid-1980s saw a changing of the guard at Royals, with a new group of young players making their mark. Andy Clarke and Paul Cornish were two of these influential players which would set the tone for the rest of the decade. Anthony Moore broke the long-standing season point scoring record with 230 points. The 1985 season was capped off with Royals winning their second premiership of the decade.
Front Row Cornerstones
The early 80s saw two stalwarts of Royals emerge in the front row – Jim Taylor and Geoff Didier. Jim and Duke would go on to become Royals most capped first graders in careers that crossed multiple decades.
Our club has a proud tradition and identifies closely with the Royals Foundation Team of 1949. The current Patron of the Rugby Club in 2019 is John Kelsey. Royals have produced over 20 international representatives including 7 Wallabies, 10 Wallaroos, and more than two dozen representatives Australia wide.
The Club has featured strongly in grand finals since the establishment of rugby in Canberra, winning 16 First Grade Premierships. The women’s team has also had outstanding success, winning six premierships contested to date and was undefeated in 2000 and 2001.
Royals is renowned for its innovation and a number of its former players, coaches and managers have gone on to establish careers in the Brumbies (which is an acknowledged world-class organisation) and with interstate and overseas rugby clubs.
A huge milestone is upon us as we begin to celebrate our 70th year anniversary of The Canberra Royals family. It is such an exciting year for all those who have been involved in this great club over the past seven decades; players, coaches, committee members, support staff, families and supporters.
For 70 years we have strived for success on and off the field and have developed life-long relationships. Jack Waters founded the club in 1949, where the “Western Suburbs RUFC” Jerseys would cost five shillings for the embroidered badge, five shillings for the jersey itself and seven shillings-seven-pence for a pair of socks.
After lengthy discussions with club officials and supporters, Jack changed the club name to The Canberra Royals RUFC with the colours of royal blue and white. In the 1949 season, Royals entered two teams in reserve grade and were highly successful. In the decade following, the firsts played in nine grand finals and won the premiership three times which clearly set the foundation for the fine club we are today.
Let’s make 2019 a truly memorable one for the mighty Canberra Royals club and strive hard to win as many premierships as we can to celebrate 70 outstanding years.
To our supporters – get behind your players, come along and barrack hard all season. To the players-do what Royals players have been doing for seven decades, play hard, take care of your mates and do your club proud!