The Tempe Rugby Club has a rich history which started in 1980 and spans over three decades with a legacy of success on-the- pitch.

NOTE: We welcome contributing authors who have verifiable content for the chronological history below. If you have any verifiable updates, corrections, and/or content for the overall Club, Sr. Men’s Team, Sr. Women’s Team, or Youth Teams’content below, please feel free to message us directly with updates though our public website or public Facebook page.

2017

Overview – the Sr. Women’s Team kicked off the 2017 season with a bang with a victory over the highly competitive, Santa Monica Women’s Rugby Club. In a memorable game filled with relentless rain and mud, the Tempe Women shut out Santa Monica with a 19-0 win. The initial win gave the Ninjas momentum throughout the season as they were able to compete and win against Santa Monica in the Southern California Regional playoffs. The win secured the Sr. Women with an 8th seed at the National Championship playoffs held in Tucson, AZ. While the Ninjas lost both games in their time at Nationals, this provided them with much needed experience in higher level rugby.

The Nationals experience came in handy for the Sr. Women during their summer 7s season, coached by 2 former USA Eagles, Daniela Mogro and Alison Price. The Ninjas competed in 2 qualifying 7s tournaments in San Clemente, CA and Long Beach, CA. The Tempe Women came in 2nd place in both tournaments, losing and tying to the highly experienced San Diego Surfers. The tournaments secured Tempe with the 16th seed at the Club 7s National Championship playoffs, held in Minneapolis, MN. Though the Ninjas came up empty in Nationals, it was an exciting and eye-opening time to compete with higher level teams that featured former and current USA Eagles.

2016

Overview – the 2015-2016 season was a big year for the Tempe Rugby Club!  After five trips to the national final four, and three separate attempts in the USA National Championship finals (1996, 2003, 2014) the Sr. Men’s Team, under the leadership of Head Coach Junior Faasoo and Captain Kueli “Will” Danielson, won the 2016 National Championship with a win over the Detroit Tradesmen (54-21) in Denver, CO!

The Sr. Men’s Team – After winning its 8th consecutive Arizona Rugby Union state championship (10-0) dating back to 2009, the Old Devils defeated El Paso (153-0) and Red Mnt (31-13) in the Arizona/Rio Grande Regional Championship, and Huntington Beach in the Pacific South Championships en route to another birth to the USA Rugby National Championship playoffs!

The Sr. Women’s Team started off the season strong with consecutive wins in both preseason and the conference season. Unfortunately due to injuries and wear and tear of the players, the Sr. Women were defeated in our goals to reach the Regional and National Championship playoffs.

The 7s season for the Sr. Women’s Team was proven to be more successful as they qualified for the 16th seed in the Club 7s National Championship playoffs, held in Glendale, CO. Though the Ninjas fought hard to compete, the more experienced teams were able to defeat the Tempe Women.

2015

Overview – During the summer of 2014, following the collapse of the U19 boys program, the Tempe alumni responded decisively pulling together key leaders to draft the One Club / One Vision (OC/OV).  The OC/OV was a new club strategy and organizational structure designed to more effectively engage alumni and senior members in Club level administrative leadership, develop club infrastructure for increased sustainability, improve the club’s ability to integrate its Teams, and to better define and align the Club’s overarching structure and short- and long-term goals and objectives.  That summer the OC/OV plan was passed by both the Sr. Men’s and Sr. Women’s members for implementation September 1 for the 2015-2016 year. Under the OC/OV plan the inaugural Club-level executive board was appointed, which included a President (Katie Thompson), V. President (Hal Morgan), Treasurer (Ben Stith), Secretary (Jo R.), Director of Rugby Development (Salty Thompson), Sr. Men’s Team Director (Sam Merrill), and Sr. Women’s Director (Megan Prince).

Sr. Men’s Team – After winning its 7th consecutive Arizona Rugby Union state championship (9-1) dating back to 2009, the Sr. Men’s Team successfully navigated El Paso (74-5) and Red Mountain (24-12) in the Arizona/Rio Grande Regional Playoffs before dispatching Back Bay Sharks (34-7) in the national round of sixteen and Dallas Rugby (67-21) in the national round of eight before falling to eventual champions, Life West Gladiators (41-32), in the national final four.

Youth – The Boy’s U19 Jr. Devils program was resurrected under the leadership of Head Coach Bret Fullerton, Asst. Coaches Lati Maafu, and Asst. Coach Jose Aburto.  In late Fall, Tempe was approached by Coach Mike Weber of the East Valley Eagles RFC with a proposal to merge for the 2015-2016 season to ensure sufficient member numbers for proper training and competitive match season.  While the late timing of the merger was not ideal, it was not surprising that the Rugby Arizona Youth administration and participating coaches subsequently moved to block the merger.  Unsuccessful in their efforts, they called for a mid-season vote to impose a new policy, which precluded teams that merge after December 1st from being playoff eligible.  They subsequently called for a vote to retroactively applying the new policy, thus penalizing Tempe and EV for merging and deeming the team ineligible for the 2016 state playoffs.  Nevertheless, the squad finished the season 7-2 while dominating most of the Arizona field and ascending to a #18 national ranking in its first year back.  The Tempe Jr’s Devils successfully developed a good core group of members and momentum heading into the 2016-2017 year.

2014

Overview – The Tempe Rugby Club lost one of its best.  Tempe lost Dave “Jumbo” Blank (1961-2014), one of the Sr. Men’s all-time most talented props and most inspirational leaders, after a long battle with cancer.

Sr. Men’s Team – After winning its 6th consecutive Arizona Rugby Union state championship (10-0) dating back to 2009, the Sr. Men’s Team successfully navigated El Paso (65-7) and Red Mnt (21-15) in the Arizona/Rio Grande Regional Playoffs before dispatching the Oceanside Chiefs (47-8) in the round of sixteen, the Glendale Raptors (35-22) in the round of eight, and the Little Rock Stormers (55-37) in the final four en route to Tempe’s third trip to the USARFU National Finals.  The Old Devils battled, but came up short against a well drilled and disciplined Rocky Gorge squad (29-5).

2013

Sr. Men’s Team – After winning its 4th consecutive Arizona Rugby Union state championship (6-1) dating back to 2009, the Sr. Men’s Team successfully navigated El Paso Scorpions (24-19) before falling to Albuquerque Aardvarks (27-37) on day two of the Arizona/Rio Grande Regional Playoffs.

Youth Program – James Sparman resumed as Head Coach of the Tempe Rugby Club Boys U19 Team with Dave Jumbo Blank on staff.

2012

Sr. Men’s Team – After winning its 4th consecutive Arizona Rugby Union state championship (6-1) dating back to 2009, the Sr. Men’s Team successfully navigated El Paso Scorpions (24-19) before falling to Albuquerque Aardvarks (27-37) on day two of the Arizona/Rio Grande Regional Playoffs.

Youth Program – James Sparman resumed as Head Coach of the Tempe Rugby Club Boys U19 Team with Dave Jumbo Blank on staff.

2011

Sr. Men’s Team – After defeating Scottsdale (64-7), Old Pueblo (41-22), and Red Mnt (23-22) in the ARU playoffs, Tempe won its 3rd consecutive Arizona Rugby Union state championship (7-1) dating back to 2009.

Youth Program – James Sparman resumed as Head Coach of the Tempe Rugby Club Boys U19 Team with Dave Jumbo Blank on staff.

2010

Youth Program – James Sparman resumed as Head Coach of the Tempe Rugby Club Boys U19 Team.  Dave Jumbo Blank joined the coaching staff.

2009

Youth Program – James Sparman appointed Head Coach of the Tempe Rugby Club Boys U19 Team.

2008

Overview – In his first year as President of the Tempe Rugby Club, Hal Morgan extended an invitation to Megan “Red” Prince of the Scottsdale Rugby Club women’s team to join Tempe.  In the interest of growing the Club, we hoped that Megan could assist us in building a women’s team from the bottom up in the tradition of the Tempe Rugby Club.  As may be expected, the invitation was initially declined citing strong loyalty and a reluctance to leave her team.  Approximately a month later, under the leadership of Prince and a handful of other women, the Scottsdale women’s team voted to dissolve their affiliation with the Scottsdale club in favor of joining the Tempe Rugby Club.  And so, the Tempe Rugby Club Sr. Women’s Team was born!

2004

Sr. Men’s Team – The Old Devils made the 2004 National Final Four championships.

2001

Sr. Men’s Team – In 2001 Tempe claimed the Union Championship and finished 2nd in the Pacific Coast.

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