Heidelberger RK

The Heidelberger Ruderklub (Heidelberger RK or HRK for short) is a German rowing club and rugby union club from Heidelberg, currently playing in the Rugby-Bundesliga.

Heidelberger RK - Rugby
Heidelbergerrk logo.png
Full nameHeidelberger Ruderklub 1872 e.V.
UnionGerman Rugby Federation
Founded9 May 1872
LocationHeidelberg, Germany
Ground(s)Sportgelände an der Speyererstraße (Capacity: 1,500)
ChairmanPeter Jeffs
2018–19Rugby-Bundesliga South/West, 4th
Team kit
Official website

The club is one of only two professional rugby clubs in Germany, the other being SC 1880 Frankfurt. The turn to professionalism in a sport otherwise fully amateur in Germany was made possible through the support of [Hans-Peter Wild[1]], who owns a soft drink manufacturing business.[2]

Heidelberger RK was to become the first German club to take part in either of the two major European rugby union competitions after they qualified for the 2018-19 European Rugby Challenge Cup via winning their semi-final against Timișoara Saracens in the 2017-18 European Rugby Continental Shield. European Professional Club Rugby announced that Heidelberger would be excluded as they were under the ownership of Wild, who was simultaneously the owner of another Challenge Cup side, Stade Francais.

Following the decision, Wild announced he was withdrawing support for the club.


The club's origins date back to 1872, when, on 9 May, the Deutschen Flaggen-Club Heidelberg was formed, a rowing club.[3] In the early days, several rowing clubs were formed in Heidelberg and disappeared again, but the remaining ones merged in 1875 to form the Heidelberger Ruderclub, under the leadership of the Flaggen-Club.

The game of rugby was introduced in the club in the early 1890s by Edward Hill Ullrich, who was partly of English descend and had a great love of "English" games, translating the rules of rugby into German. It is from this beginnings that the HRK claims to be the oldest rugby club in Germany. This is true in the sense that it is the oldest rugby-playing club in Germany but other clubs have an older rugby department.

The club had a golden era in the late 1920s, when it reached the German championship final three years in a row, winning the title in 1927 and 1928.

After years of stagnation and a lack of home ground, the HRK formed a youth department and moved to the Sportgelände an der Speyererstraße in 1961, which is still its current home. This development soon bore fruit and the club earned three championships in the 1970s, also qualifying for the new Rugby-Bundesliga in 1971. The club continued to be a force in German rugby well into the 80's, earning its last championship in 1986.

After a period of decline, it found itself in the 2nd Rugby-Bundesliga, where it was promoted from back to the first division in 1997. After a short stint in this league, the team had to return to the 2nd Bundesliga in 2000, where it was to remain for the next couple of seasons.

The club dominated the 2nd Bundesliga South/West in 2004-05, winning all 16 regular season games, the largest win being a 146-5 victory over BSC Offenbach. In the final against the North/East champion DSV 78/08 Ricklingen, an 18-6 victory meant promotion back to the Bundesliga.[4]

Since then, the club has existed as a lower table side in the league, sitting just above the relegation zone. In 2008-09, the club's performance has much improved and a second place saw the team return to the German finals for the first time in over 20 years. In the semi-finals, the club beat SC Neuenheim, to reach its first national championship final since 1986, where it narrowly lost 11-8 to SC 1880 Frankfurt. The following season, HRK finished third in the league but reached the final once more, this time defeating SC 1880 39-22 in extra time, to earn its first national championship since 1986. It repeated this achievement in 2010-11 when it defeated Frankfurt once more in a closely fought final, winning 12-9. Having won the men's national cup and sevens championship as well as the national championship and sevens championship with the women's, the HRK took out all five available national titles in 2010-11.[5]

In 2011-12, the club also took part in the North Sea Cup, a European Cup competition made up of two clubs each from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.[6] The club once more finished top of the table in the league in 2011-12, losing only one of its 18 games, reaching the final for a fourth consecutive time, but facing TV Pforzheim there rather than SC 1880 Frankfurt, its opposition in the previous three finals.[7] HRK won the final 20-16 and won its ninth German championship.

In the 2012–13 season the club took part in the European Clubs Championship, a new competition, on the strength of its North Sea Cup runners-up finish in the previous year, facing the Croatian champions RK Nada in the semi-finals, which HRK won 43–0. The club consequently qualified for the final against Lituanian club RC Šiauliai who had knocked out SC 1880 in the semi finals, winning this game and the competition 60–10.[8] The European Clubs Championship is open to the winners of the Baltic and Balkan Cups as well as the winners and runners-up of the North Sea Cup.[9][10]

HRK finished first in their group in the 2012-13 season and qualified for the south/west division of the championship round, where it also came first. The club won its fourth consecutive German championship defeating SC Neuenheim 41-10 in the final. In the North Sea Cup the club reached the final where it defeated Belgian club Boitsfort Rugby Club 34-10 to take out the competition for the first time.[11]

The club remained unbeaten during the 2013–14 regular season, finishing first in the south-west championship round, receiving a bye for the first round of the play-offs and advancing to the finals after victories over RK 03 Berlin and Berliner RC. Heidelberg won its fifth consecutive title when it defeated TV Pforzheim 43–20 in Pforzheim.[12]

In the 2014–15 season the club once again remained unbeaten and finished first in the south-west championship group once more. It defeated TV Pforzheim in the final of the German championship after play-off wins over TSV Handschuhsheim and RG Heidelberg. HRK thereby equaled Victoria Linden's record of six consecutive German championships.[13]

In 2015–16 Heidelberger RK participated in the European Rugby Challenge Cup Qualifying Competition, competing against Grupo Desportivo Direito, Mogliano Rugby, Royal Kituro Rugby Club and Timișoara Saracens for a place in the 2016–17 European Rugby Challenge Cup.[14] After two away wins the club played its first home game against Belgian side Kituro, which it won, thereby also opening its new home ground which has an artificial turf surface.[15] Heidelberg lost its final game of the competition to Timișoara and was eliminated.[16] In the Bundesliga Heidelberg completed the regular season unbeaten and defeated SC Germania List in the play-off semi-finals but suffered a surprise 41–36 defeat to TV Pforzheim in the final.[17] Two further title wins ensued, 2017 against TV Pforzheim and 2018 against RG Heidelberg. The regular season 2018-2019 was concluded by clinching the third place and as the only side beating the 2019 national champion SC 1880 Frankfurt in a league game.[18]

Reserve and women's teamEdit

The club's reserve side has played for many years in the league below, the 2nd Bundesliga South/West, but stepped down to the third level for 2012–13.

The club also has a successful women's team, which plays at the highest level in Germany, the Women's Rugby Bundesliga, but it took the team until 2010 to win a national championship at this level. Since then the clubs women's team has won five consecutive national championships from 2010 to 2014. It has however won the national sevens championship in the past.

Current squadEdit

Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Alexander Biskupek Hooker   Germany
Jerome Himmer Hooker   Germany
Christopher Kleebauer Hooker   England
Alexander Widiker Hooker   Germany
Arthur Zeiler Prop   Germany
Patrick Schliwa Prop   Germany
Luis Vasquez Prop   Venezuela
Samy Füchsel Prop   Germany
Christoph Hermesdorf Prop   Germany
Juan Carlos Romanzini Prop   Argentina
Benjamin Danso Lock   Germany
Peter Stieger Lock   Germany
Julio David Rodriguez Lock   Venezuela
Christian Alexander Röhrig Lock   Germany
Johannes Reinhardt Lock   Germany
Kehoma Brenner Back row   Germany
Benedikt Rehm Back row   Germany
Sidney Brenner Back row   Germany
Ansgar Ruhnau Back row   Germany
Jarrid Els Back row   Germany
Jacobus Otto Back row   Germany
Eugene Beuks Back row   South Africa
Konstantin Bachmann Back row   Germany
Sebastian Uhrig Back row   Germany
Player Position Union
Sean Armstrong Scrum-half   Germany
Pierre Mathurin Scrum-half   England
Raynor Parkinson Fly-half   Germany
Thorsten Wiedemann Fly-half   Germany
Andreas Götz Fly-half   Germany
Anjo Buckman Centre   Germany
Pieter Johannes Jordaan Centre   South Africa
Mirko Tomić Centre   Croatia
Raphael Pyrasch Wing   Germany
Malte Bieringer Wing   Germany
Marco Klatt Wing   Germany
Christopher Liebig Wing   Germany
Christopher Neureuther Wing   Germany
Erkut Leventdurmus Wing   Germany
Mawuli Amfia Wing   Togo
Hendrik van der Merwe Wing   South Africa
Steffen Liebig Fullback   Germany

Club honoursEdit



  • German rugby union championship
    • Champions: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
    • Runners up: 2007, 2009
  • German sevens championship
    • Champions: 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013
    • Runners-up: 2014, 2016

Recent seasonsEdit

Men: First teamEdit

Recent seasons of the club:[19]

Year Division Position
1997-98 Rugby-Bundesliga (I) 8th
1998-99 Rugby-Bundesliga South/West 5th
Bundesliga qualification round 3rd
1999–2000 Rugby-Bundesliga South/West 5th
Bundesliga qualification round 5th — Relegated
2000-01 2nd Rugby-Bundesliga South/West (II) 5th
2nd Rugby-Bundesliga South/West qualification round 1st
2001-02 2nd Rugby-Bundesliga South/West 3rd
2002-03 2nd Rugby-Bundesliga South/West 2nd
2003-04 2nd Rugby-Bundesliga South/West 2nd
2004-05 2nd Rugby-Bundesliga South/West 1st — Promoted
2005-06 Rugby-Bundesliga (I) 6th
2006-07 Rugby-Bundesliga 7th
2007-08 Rugby-Bundesliga 6th
2008-09 Rugby-Bundesliga 2nd — Runners up
2009–10 Rugby-Bundesliga 3rd — Champions
2010–11 Rugby-Bundesliga 1st — Champions
2011–12 Rugby-Bundesliga 1st — Champions
2012–13 Rugby-Bundesliga qualification round – South 1st
Rugby-Bundesliga championship round – South-West 1st — Champions
2013–14 Rugby-Bundesliga qualification round – South 1st
Rugby-Bundesliga championship round – South-West 1st — Champions
2014–15 Rugby-Bundesliga qualification round – South 1st
Rugby-Bundesliga championship round – South-West 1st — Champions
2015–16 Rugby-Bundesliga South-West 1st — Runners up
  • Until 2001, when the single-division Bundesliga was established, the season was divided in autumn and spring, a Vorrunde and Endrunde, whereby the top teams of the Rugby-Bundesliga would play out the championship while the bottom teams together with the autumn 2nd Bundesliga champion would play for Bundesliga qualification. The remainder of the 2nd Bundesliga teams would play a spring round to determine the relegated clubs. Where two placing's are shown, the first is autumn, the second spring. In 2012 the Bundesliga was expanded from ten to 24 teams and the 2nd Bundesliga from 20 to 24 with the leagues divided into four regional divisions.

Men: Reserve teamEdit

Year Division Position
2006–07 Rugby-Regionalliga (III) 2nd
2007–08 Rugby-Regionalliga 1st — Promoted
2008–09 2nd Rugby-Bundesliga South/West (II) 8th
2009–10 2nd Rugby-Bundesliga South/West 8th
2010–11 2nd Rugby-Bundesliga South/West 5th
2011–12 2nd Rugby-Bundesliga South/West 5th — Withdrawn
2012–13 3rd Liga South/West - West (III) 3rd
2013–14 inactive
2014–15 3rd Liga South/West 2nd
2015–16 3rd Liga South/West—South 9th
2016–17 3rd Liga South/West—South 1st — Declined promotion


Year Division Position
2004-05 Women's Rugby Bundesliga 5th
2005-06 Women's Rugby Bundesliga 3rd
2006–07 Women's Rugby Bundesliga 2nd — Runners up
2007–08 Women's Rugby Bundesliga 3rd
2008–09 Women's Rugby Bundesliga 2nd — Runners up
2009–10 Women's Rugby Bundesliga 1st — Champions
2010–11 Women's Rugby Bundesliga 1st — Champions
2011–12 Women's Rugby Bundesliga 1st — Champions
2012–13 Women's Rugby Bundesliga 1st — Champions
2013–14 Women's Rugby Bundesliga 3rd — Champions
2014–15 Women's Rugby Bundesliga 1st — Champions
2015–16 Women's Rugby Bundesliga 2nd — Champions

Rugby internationalsEdit

In Germany's 2006–08 European Nations Cup campaign, no player from the club was called up for the national team.

In the 2008–10 campaign, Anjo Buckman, Christopher Liebig, Steffen Liebig, Patrick Schliwa and Tim Kasten were new additions to the club's list of internationals.

In the 2010–12 campaign, Raphael Pyrasch, Pieter Jordaan, Alexander Widiker, Arthur Zeiler, Daniel Armitage, Sean Armstrong and Kehoma Brenner were all new additions to the club's list of German internationals, while Patrick Schliwa, Anjo Buckman, Steffen Liebig and Tim Kasten appeared again.

For the opening match of the 2012–14 edition of the ENC against the Ukraine Sean Armstrong, Anjo Buckman, Pieter Jordaan, Alexander Widiker, Arthur Zeiler, Steffen Liebig, Kehoma Brenner and Rafael Pyrasch where once more selected while Benjamin Danso, Raynor Parkinson and Samy Füchsel were new additions to the club's list of German internationals.[20]

Felix Lammers marked his first regular season of international rugby with a try in the 18-26 defeat against Russia in Heidelberg on March 2, 2019 in week 3 of the 2019 Rugby Europe Championship.


  1. ^ >wikipedia.de>
  2. ^ Getränke-Hersteller gegen Gold-Händler (in German) Offenbach-Post, published: 28 May 2011. accessed: 21 August 2011
  3. ^ Club history (in German) accessed: 30 March 2010
  4. ^ 2nd Rugby-Bundesliga 2004-05 rugbyweb.de, accessed: 23 January 2009
  5. ^ HRK holt 7er-Titel (in German) DRV website, accessed: 21 August 2011
  6. ^ North Sea Cup (in German) www.rugbyweb.de, accessed: 21 August 2011
  7. ^ Rugby-Bundesliga 2011-12 (in German) rugbyweb.de, accessed: 3 May 2012
  8. ^ ERCC: Heidelberger RK gewinnt Europapokal (in German) totalrugby.de, published: 7 October 2012, accessed: 10 October 2012
  9. ^ European Clubs Championship: Heidelberger RK steht nach Sieg in Spilt im Finale (in German) totalrugby.de, published: 17 September 2012, accessed: 17 September 2012
  10. ^ European Rugby Clubs Championship: SC Frankfurt 1880 verpasst das Finale (in German) totalrugby.de, published: 9 September 2012, accessed: 17 September 2012
  11. ^ Der HRK eroberte den Nordseecup (in German) Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung, published: 21 May 2013, accessed: 24 May 2013
  12. ^ 94. Deutsche Rugby-Meisterschaft: Heidelberger RK holt sich fünften Titel in Folge (in German) totalrugby.de, published: 21 June 2014, accessed: 24 June 2014
  13. ^ Heidelberger RK holt sich den sechsten Meistertitel in Folge (in German) totalrugby.ce, published: 16 May 2015, accessed: 17 May 2015
  14. ^ Two places in next season's Challenge Cup up for grabs epcrugby.com, published: 22 October 2015, accessed: 17 November 2015
  15. ^ Heidelberger RK im Europapokal weiter ungeschlagen (in German) totalrugby.de, published: 14 December 2015, accessed: 15 December 2015
  16. ^ EPCRQ: Rovigo kegelt HRK aus dem Europapokal (in German) totalrugby.de, published: 24 January 2016, accessed: 9 February 2016
  17. ^ "Rugby-Wahnsinn: TV Pforzheim holt sensationell den Meistertitel" [Rugby Unbelievable: TV Pforzheim sensationally wins championship]. pz-news.de (in German). Pforzheimer Zeitung. 7 May 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  18. ^ [1] RugbyWeb Ergebnisarchiv, accessed: 24 August 2019
  19. ^ RugbyWeb Ergebnisarchiv (in German) rugbyweb.de - Results archive, accessed: 24 July 2012
  20. ^ DRV XV: Kader für EM-Auftakt gegen Ukraine fast komplett (in German) totalrugby.de, published: 16 October 2012, accessed: 17 October 2012

External linksEdit