While most rugby clubs are known as beer swilling marauders that create a bustle whenever they gather, this perception is hardly gained by accident and any player will tell you that the social aspect of rugby is just as significant as what happens on the pitch. In fact, many clubs meet and make their decisions in a social context, gathering at pubs for their meetings, formations and well, just plain celebration.
With the help of a pint, some supper and a barmaid as early as the late 1800’s, more than 20 rugby clubs gathered formulate and discuss the rules of the game and to plan for the regulations of the sport moving forward. The first official union was thus formed.
Other stories surround the association of pubs and clubs including the one that deemed s set of pubs in North London that served as the rugby change room for the Wasps club, a club that was absent at the union’s inauguration due to a confusion of the venue and thus never a founding member. Other clubs were also excluded but not because of misdirection.
The Scottish FC of London was also founded in a tavern called MacKay’s in the latter part of that century due to its proximity to grounds where they played and many renowned players emerged from that group. Rosslyn Football Club was also born in a pub but at very least they rented a room from the proprietor of the White Horse to house them when they changed.
Pubs are still widely influential to the sport of rugby being the venue where they gather to celebrate wins, forget their losses and simply get together. The tradition extends borders and in the United States there is more than one website dedicated to reviewing and recommending the best pubs across the U.S. to watch rugby on sports screens and join with other fans to cheer on your team. Places such as Rugger’s Pub in Pittsburgh or the Mad Dog in the Fog in San Francisco are well known for snubbing other sports on their big screens in favour of rugby and they’re filled with paraphernalia from the sport.
Other associations include the connection of many rugby players that go on to become proprietors of their own pubs once they retired from the game. Irish player Sean O’Brien joined with some his fellow players to purchase a pub in Dublin. With knowledge of the business from their time spent frequenting establishments, their success is predicted. The expectation is that they will always be filled to capacity with members of other clubs and that stands to reason. Players are loyal to the game and to anything attached to it.
Pubs are well known to sponsor rugby clubs not simply in an attempt to garner the marketing opportunity by splashing their name of the fronts of their jerseys but also in a sincere effort to support them competitively. Of course, they rely on the teams that they champion to bring everybody by at the end of a game to raise a pint to toast the team, win or lose. The Toronto Dragons FC is sponsored by the Duke of York pub which is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the pitch where they play.
Overall, the clubs and the pubs are thought of as infinitely connected regardless of how the two show up in their association.