Our History 3 of 8

3. Women

The New York Rugby Club's Women's Team was originally founded as the Cornell Medical College Women's RFC and played under the Cornell colors of Red and White. Our first game (vs Manhattanville College) was held on the grounds of the school's medical facility in White Plains in the Spring of 1982. In 1987, we joined the Met New York Rugby Union as Gotham City and changed our team colors to pink and black. During our ten years as Gotham City, we were known for our strong seven-a-side rugby program and spectacular partying skills.

2012 - USA #6
2011 - USA #5
2010 - USA #1
2009 - USA #1
2008 - NRU #2, USA #2
2007 - NRU #1, USA #3
2006 - NRU #1, USA #1
2004-2005 - NRU #1, USA #3
2003-2004 - NRU #1, USA #3
2002-2003 - NRU #1, USA #3
2001-2002 - NRU #1, USA #2
2000-2001 - MetNY #1, NRU #2, USA #5
1999-2000 - MetNY #1, NRU #2, USA #4
1998-1999 - MetNY #1, NRU #2, USA #5
1997-1998 - MetNY #1, NRU #3
1996-1997 - MetNY #2

1997 - A new Beginning
In the Spring of 1997, we decided to restructure our program. After much debate, Gotham City merged with the New York Rugby Football Club, Inc. ("NYRFC"). At the time the NYRFC had never fielded a women's team. Even though this meant that Gotham City would be trading its pink and black jerseys for the orange and blue colors of the NYRFC and giving up the Gotham City name, we believed that being part of a rugby tradition that extended back to 1929 and the NYRFC's strong administrative structure would assist us in improving our level of play.

1997-2000 - Rising up the Ranks
With the help of Coach Drew Fautley, the transformation of the Team began. By the fall 1997 season, our roster doubled in size. In October 1997, we defeated Monmouth to become the Met Union Champions, a first in the 10 year history of the Team! (The Team has won the Met Union Championship every year since then.) We made our first appearance in the USA Rugby Women's Club National Championship Series in June 1999, winning the Plate Division and finishing 5th in the Nation. In the Spring of 2000, the Team again qualified for USA Rugby's "Sweet 16" National Championship Tournament, but this time made it to National Final Four and finished ranked 4th in the country. At the conclusion of the season, Drew Fautley resigned as the Team's coach to devote more time to his family and resume playing with the NYRFC's Men's Team. After 3 years, 3 Met Union Titles, 1 National Plate Championship and 1 National Final Four appearance, he left big shoes to fill.

Upon Drew's resignation, the Team conducted an extensive search for a new coaching staff to help us continue on our quest for a USA Rugby National Championship. It was fortunate to find Michael Luke and Lance Connolly, who joined the NYRFC Women's team as coaches in the Spring of 2001. Mike was a former player, captain, and coach for the Canadian National team. Lance was a former coach of the Boston WRFC as well as player and coach for Monmouth RFC. In the Spring of 2001, the Team beat Maryland, its East coast rivals, earned another trip to the National Plate Championships and once again won the Plate final.

In the Spring of 2002, the Team defeated Beantown to win its first ever Northeast Championship. We then won our Sweet 16 Pool to earn our 2nd trip to the National Final 4. We won our first match to achieve our first ever spot in the National Championship Finals. In the Finals we lost a tough and well fought match to the Berkeley All Blues and ended up ranked 2nd in the country.

Fall 2002 through Spring 2005 brought the team much success and still more changes on the coaching front. We ended up 3rd at the US National Championships for 2003, 2004, and 2005, each year suffering difficult defeats to the Minnesota Valkyries in the semifinals. We also welcomed Craig Levine onto the coaching staff in these years - Craig had coached the Northeast and Morris women's teams, and was a long time stand out for Old Blue. In 2004 we also welcomed John McGeachy (former Keystone coach and player for NYAC and the US 7s programs) to the coaching staff.

At the end of the 2005 Spring season, Craig announced his intentions to return to active play, while Mike Luke, after nearly 5 years with the Team (which included a move with his wife to the Boston area), was moving on to work with coaching initiatives in other spheres. The team was again faced with the prospect of searching for a new head coach to help us turn our program around and move beyond the 3rd place space we had made for ourselves. We had come a long way since 1997, both in team size and level of play, but we also realized that part of what we needed was to get back to the heart, drive and pure joy of playing which had taken us so far in those early years.
In August of 2005 we were proud to announce that Drew Fautley would once again take the reins as Head Coach of the NYRC Women's Team. We are excited to work with Drew to combine a great sense of Team, strong developmental coaching, dedicated and skilled rugby athletes, and FUN on and off the field to keep us moving on our path to rugby greatness.
November 2006 saw the women's team realizing a dream nearly 25 years in the making - the team won the USA Rugby Women's DI National Championship in a thrilling match against the Berkeley All Blues at Walt Disney's Wide World of Sports in Orlando, FL.

Since 2006, our quest has been to build and maintain championship level rugby performance every year. With the consolidation of the league and playoffs into the fall season, the spring migrated to a development season, while the fall build ups started eariler. Though NY retains many veteran players in key positions, we spent the last 3 years developing younger players from within our ranks to start, and recruited and trained many key players out of the collegiate ranks.

Rebuilding spring season, Women's Anniversary celebration, Undefeated season up until the 3-point loss to Beantown in semis, #3

10 Years as New York Rugby
20 Years since the founding of Gotham City
25 Years since the first game was played as Cornell Med
...so naturally, a CELEBRATION was in order!!
THE WOMEN'S TEAM ANNIVERSARY WEEKEND TOOK PLACE JUNE 8-10, 2007 - we welcomed about 90 current and former women's team members for the festivities...folks came from as far away as Minnesota, Colorado, and Arkansas!

Slim squad, but more successful spring season; First Saranac Championship, 6 games v Beantown, Coaches away for women's 7's events, player-centered competitive season, National Finalists (v Berkley) #2

First spring with former players as fulltime coaches; Fall with Ryan Dunnett, head coach, Heidi Rubenstein assistant coach. Inaugural Women's Premier League National Champions!

Ryan Dunnett returned to coach NYRC in the fall with the assistance of former NYRC flanker Heidi Rubenstein. Many young players stepped up to combine forces with veteran leadership, ultimately leading to an undefeated season and a second Women's Premier League National Championship.

After a development-centered spring with many new faces, NYRC is excited to see what this fall season will bring! If you are interested in joining us drop our New Player Coordinators an email!