The New Haven Old Black Rugby Football Club began its first season in the spring of 1986. Robert Chester, along with other graduates of Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU), petitioned the New England Rugby Union (NERFU) for membership. At the time there was a Division I club in Hartford, a Division II club in Fairfield County, and a Division III club in Danbury, but nothing available for "ruggers" in the Greater New Haven area looking to further their athletic careers. It was Chester's idea that set the wheels in motion for the only men's rugby club in the New Haven area.
The petition was accepted and NERFU allowed the Old Black to play on a probationary basis. The premiere season initiated an uphill climb. Although a taxing two-game minimum each week took a toll on the founding members, the Old Black finished its first season with a major tournament victory, through an upset, to put the young club on the rugby map. Played on SCSU's fields, the Old Black seized the Connecticut Cup from Division I powerhouse Providence.
That fall, New Haven was accepted as a full NERFU member, and has never looked back. Over the early years, the Old Black has won the Division III title, merged with the Berlin Strollers R.F.C., and embarked on a successful tour of Scotland and Ireland. After promotion to Division II, the Old Black immediately won the Division II title in New England, and subsequently the Eastern United States Division II title.
After conquering Div. II, the Old Black earned the right to move up to Div. I play. The initial years showed a very competitive side playing against the best clubs in the country where New Haven retained a more than respectable record. In 1993 as competition remained intense, New Haven began to see a restructuring in the club as a number of early members began to retire. Eventually the Old Black returned to Division II and began the re-building phase.
New Haven remained in Div. II for 10 years, and the step down proved to be the proper choice. Three years after returning to Div. II, the Old Black won the Division II title in the NERFU Championships in May of 1996. The team remained extremely competitive heading into the new millennium and finally burst onto the national scene with an Elite 8 appearance in 2000, a Sweet 16 appearance in 2001, and most notably, a DII National Title in 2002. Once again, the Old Black received an invitation to move up to Div. I play.
Since moving up to Div. I, the Old Black have become a recognized powerhouse on the National scene. The club has been privileged enough to see many talented international players on its roster. Andrew Tui Osborne (USA Eagles 15's & 7's), Jacko Ahoy (USA Eagles 7's) and Kahn Fotuali'I (Canterbury Crusaders – Super XIV) have all donned the black & gold at one point. New Haven has made four DI Sweet 16 appearances (2004, 2006, 2007 & 2009).
The large, tight knit squad that comprises today's Old Black, is a team that plays with pride and embodies the camaraderie and dedication that can be found in rugby. The club also remains in contact with its very supportive "Old Boys" social membership.
The Old Black is now looking to invest in its future. We have set our sights for the best that competitive rugby has to offer. We believe that we have the athletic talent and organizational structure that will continue to flourish and take the Old Black well into the future.
President: Nikita Guryakov - President@NHRugby.com
Vice President: Nicole Campbell - Vice.President@NHRugby.com
Treasurer: Michael Sullivan - Treasurer@NHRugby.com
Ombudsman: Kearney Worthington - Ombudsman@NHRugby.com
Match Secretary: Open Position - Match.Secretary@NHRugby.com
Communication Secretary: Cassie Bishop - Comm.Secretary@NHRugby.com
Board of Directors:
Retired - Gregory Grayson, Bob Huscher, Burt Hale, 3 Open Positions
Active - 3 Open Positions
Thank you to our 30 for 30 Donors:
Steven Sax, Craig Johnson, Jarod Morrison, Justin Lindahl, Victor Milani, Lou Scigliano, Christian Keene, Ericka Saracho, Marc Castellucci, Peter Suits, Robert Spino Jr., Madison Gegeckas, Brian Schacht, Nikita Guryakov
Edward Reed, Matthew Reynolds, Kelly Robison, Nicole Campbell, David Cooke, Robert Chester, Grayson Gregory
Jill Bartone, Mark Firla, Michael Sullivan, Stephen Wachter, Gregory King, Pablo Perez, Leo Connors Jr., Robert Huscher, Dan Gonzalez, Philip Folta, Joseph Kusnitz, Connor Hart, Furth Inc., Andrew Marullo
"We are dedicated to winning through our commitment to excellence, integrity and quality in everything we do. We pledge to help our sponsors build their brands and grow their business, and to make New Haven a better place to live through our support of worthy social causes."
New Haven Rugby Football Club and the New Haven Rugby Disciplinary Board expect all players to abide by the following code of conduct:
- 1. All players shall maintain a high standard of moral and ethical conduct, which includes self control, responsible behavior; consideration for the physical and emotional well-being of others, proper manners on the field and in public places where New Haven Rugby sponsored events/games are being held and while traveling to and from such places.
- 2. All players shall abstain from the use of illegal drugs and the immoderate use of alcohol before, during or after matches, as well as at New Haven Rugby sponsor's place of business, sponsored events or games. Any player under the age of 21 shall abstain from any use of alcohol.
- 3. All Players shall abstain from obnoxious, impolite or antisocial behavior of any sort that would adversely affect the image of New Haven Rugby. This includes verbal abuse of players, opponent, officials or supporters during a matches or a New Haven Rugby sponsored events or games.
- 4. All players and supporters must respect the ground rules that are in effect at any particular match, such as prohibitions against having any alcohol or pubic indecency on the grounds and in public parks.
- 5. All players have a responsibility for the behavior of their supporters while attending New Haven Rugby sponsored events/games.
- 6. All players shall respect and play within the Laws & Regulations that govern the sport of rugby, as set forth by the International Rugby Board (IRB), USA Rugby, NERFU or Empire GU.
- 7. All players have the responsibility to be game fit and to take care of any injuries incurred on or off the field. All injuries should be communicated to the Coach and/or Captain immediately following the game.
- 8. All Players have the responsibility to show up on time for both games and practices. On game day all players must arrive 1 hour prior to the start of the game (unless previously communicated differently) and for away games must arrive at the predetermined departure time. For practices players must be kitted up prior to the designated start time. Any deviation from this must be communicated to the Coach and/or Captain prior to the scheduled time.
- 9. Any player found in violation of the "Code of Conduct" will have an opportunity to explain his actions to the Disciplinary Board who will then determine the consequence. Consequences will range from a warning, a monetary fine, match suspensions or expulsion.
- 10. All players must be in good standing with New Haven Rugby in order to participate in practices and games. This includes being current with New Haven Rugby dues, union disciplinary sanctions and USA Rugby membership
Violations of this Code of Conduct will be immediately addressed by the New Haven Rugby Disciplinary Board.