WRFU History

 

1960s - 1990s

The first Windsor RFC team was associated with the Assumption College and formed in the 1963.In 1965, the Blackrock ex-patriot's rugby club formed with founding members such as Gerry Frain, Mike O'Brien and Mel Lawn. In 1968, Mel splintered off to form a new club, the "Borderers" to compete with the renamed "Anglos". Both clubs grew and a fierce rivalry developed between the two within the Southwestern Ontario Rugby Union (SWORU).After 1972 the Anglos struggled and folded back into the Windsor RFC while the Borderers became a dominant team in Southern Ontario rugby through to the end of the 80's.As time passed, SWORU struggled and eventually merged with the Niagara Rugby Union (NRU) creating a major travel problem for a geographically and demographically isolated Windsor rugby population. As a result, the Anglos/Windsor team grew into the "Rogues", while the Borderers folded (with many players moving to the Detroit RFC) after playing in the Michigan Rugby Union.With old boys, Mike O’Brien and Brian Cartier at the helm, the Rogues quickly advanced to the NRU 1st division despite the extreme travel. They were a small club with limited numbers, and were restricted to the NRU despite their perennial superiority.

 

1990s - 2000s

The club was a regular contender for the league title throughout the 1990s and in 1996 took the NRU crown, but remained in that division due to them only fielding one team.1997 saw new recruitment and the beginnings of a second 'B' side as well as women’s and junior programs, but the strained finances caused difficulty leaving the team removed from league rugby, almost ending rugby south of London. As the new millennium approached, a new executive based around individuals such as Akos Toszer, Brian Gorman and Shaun Cushing, began to rebuild and reform the club from the ground up. The lack of high school rugby in the region forced a reliance on converted gridiron players, imports newly arrived in Windsor from elsewhere, and the help brought through growth in he University of Windsor Lancer rugby.

 

2000 - Present

2001 saw the Windsor team re-emerge at the top of the NRU - narrowly missing promotion by a single try, while the Lancer ruggers got their first taste of Ontario University Athletics (OUA) competition as a varsity team. In 2002, the Rogues took titles in both the NRU 'A' and 'B' divisions, qualifying them for the Intermediate Cup - the competition which dictated promotion to the Ontario leagues. Success in the Intermediate competition guaranteed the Rogues a berth in the Ontario Rugby Union (ORU) Keenan Division (2nd div.) for the 2003 season. After two seasons at the Keenan level, where the Rogues lack of comparative depth and high travel demands led to bottom half finishes, the club moved back to branch union play. This time however, in 2005, the Rogues opted to support a rebuilding South West Rugby (SWR) league, where competition only allowed for a single men's team. After inconsistent competition and an 8-0 regular season campaign, spoiled only by a championship game loss to Stratford, the Rogues moved back to the more competitive NRU for the 2006 season. During the time in the Keenan and SWR, many advances were made elsewhere in Windsor rugby. Junior initiatives began to arise with rugby available for high school aged boys in Essex and girls in Belle River. Although growth has been difficult, with sanctioning by the boards still not forthcoming, interest in the sport at Ontario's South Western tip has started to flourish.Two events central to this new-found appeal were the move by the Rogues from their 12-year home at the Fogolar Furlan club to the AKO field in East Windsor and the hosting of an under-19 international game in June 2006.By moving to the AKO facility, the club returned to its roots and began a new relationship with the fraternity which, for many years, has been a major advocate of junior sport in Windsor. The move has also showcased the sport to a new audience of young athletes - the AKO Fratmen football team - who have taken a great interest in their new tenants. June 2006 saw the first international rugby game ever in Windsor, as the Canada U19 team took on their US counterparts at the University of Windsor's new stadium. The event attracted a great deal of interest and also demonstrated the Windsor rugby community's ability to host such spectacles. On the field, the 2006 NRU season was one of ups and downs for the men’s sides as they dominated NRU competition, losing just once all year, and falling shy of another title due to administrative decision-making. Meanwhile, the women struggled, as numbers dwindle, but showed promise that the new year would bring with it a renewed zest for the game and many new faces.2007 saw the club elect its first female president as Jo Follo took the reins from Shaun Cushing, and the club enters an era of great optimism and potential growth.