The Rugby Lions, nicknamed The Lions, is an English rugby union club based in Rugby, Warwickshire. The club plays its home matches at Webb Ellis Road. Its developmental squad is known as the Crusaders. The club also has a ladies team known as the Lionesses. It currently competes in Midlands 1 East at the sixth tier of the English rugby union system, having switched from Midlands 1 West at the end of the 2017-18 season.
|Full name||The Rugby Football Club|
|Location||Rugby, Warwickshire, England|
|Ground(s)||Webb Ellis Road (Capacity: 1,000)|
|Coach(es)||Dave Addleton, Rob Dignum|
|League(s)||Midlands 1 East|
The Rugby Lions is one of only four rugby union teams in England permitted to wear an all-white strip, with England National Rugby Union Team, Rugby School, and St Paul’s School being the others. In recent times, the Lions have not exercised this right, with the home kit normally using black shorts. For the final game of the 2011–12 season against Hinckley however, the Lions appeared in white shorts as well. In a four-year span from April 2011 to September 2015, the Lions did not lose a single league fixture, winning all 60 matches in that period before their run was ended by a 31-35 defeat at Ledbury RFC in the 2015-16 season opener.
On 17 August 2012, the Rugby Advertiser released an announcement, within which was an RFU statement, which confirmed that the Lions had failed to pay off their debts in time, and had been removed from National League 2 South. It did not however say anything concerning whether or not the Lions would still compete in any division in 2012–13. At a public meeting held on 30 August, attended by over 200 people, club owner David Owen revealed that the Lions would indeed not be competing in any league for the 2012–13 season, but would instead be organising a series of friendlies. The club used the help of many supporters and local clubs to help out. With many of those present at the meeting putting their names down to volunteer. Twenty fixtures had to be fulfilled to demonstrate that the club was able to put out a side and run successfully as a club. Many former players including the clubs 'tailenders' team came together to enable the Lions to fulfill those matches.
In May 2013, it was announced that the Lions' bid to be accepted back into the RFU league system had been successful, although they were forced to rejoin at the lowest possible level, Midlands 5 West (South). On 9 August 2013, it was announced that the Lions would be featured on BT Sport's rugby programming into the new season; with the Lions' First XV travelling to the studio to participate in filming on the indoor pitch.
- National League 2 North champions: 1987-88
- Courage League National Division Two champions: 1990-91
- National League 3 Midlands champions (2): 2005-06, 2011–12
- Warwickshire Shield Winners: (2): 2011-12, 2014–15
- Midlands 5 West (South) champions: 2013-14
- Midlands Junior Vase Winners: (2): 2013-14, 2014–15
- Midlands 4 West (South) champions: 2014-15
- Clonmel Cup Winners: 2014-15
- Midlands 3 West (South) champions: 2015-16
- Midlands 2 West (South) champions: 2016-17
In July 2011, businessman – and ex-player – Michael Aland bought the club, with an ambition to becoming a Premiership side in around 5 years. Soon after, he recruited several highly experienced players and coaches, including Neil Back (Head Coach) and Ben Gollings (Player/Backs Coach). Having been relegated to the National League 3 Midlands previous season, most players from the previous season had left the club. Players who remained with the club included Nick Walton, Ben Nuttall, Callum Tucker, Fraser Tait, Matt Mountford, Neil Davies, Paul Davies and Jack Young. This meant that almost all of the entire 2011–12 squad had to be either bought or promoted from the youth team. Some of the players brought in had been at the club before, such as Ade Hales and Beau Carney. The new additions worked, with the Lions winning every game in the first half of the season, a run they carried on into 2012. The league title was secured with two games remaining on 31 March 2012 in the home game against Dudley Kingswinford, with the Lions triumphing 19–14. The Lions also won the Warwickshire Cup, winning 10–9 in the final against Sutton Coldfield.
Notable players (past and present)Edit
|Season||Division||P||W||D||L||F||A||Pts||Pos||NL Cup||Warks Cup||Mid Jnr Vase||Jnr Vase||Mid Int Vase||Warks Shield||Clon Cup|
- "Rugby Lions". 12 September 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
- "RUGBY LIONS: It's all over as Lions fail to meet RFU deadline". Rugby Advertiser. 17 August 2012. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
- Newcombe, Jon (2 June 2013). "Lions are growing new grass roots on way back". The Rugby Paper. p. 22.
- "Neil Back to take over as coach at lowly Rugby Lions". BBC Sport. BBC. 4 July 2011. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
- Mitchell, Rhod (9 July 2011). "Launceston's Gollings joins Rugby revolution". This is Cornwall. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
- "Look: Rugby Lions 'will be back' after Twickenham final loss". Coventry Telegraph. 7 May 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2014.