- Harlequins Rugby League
Harlequin F.C.for the sister rugby union club"Infobox rugby league team
clubname = Harlequins Rugby League
fullname = Harlequins Rugby League Club
nickname = Quins , Quins RL, London
founded = 1980 (as part of Fulham FC)
capacity = 12,700
chairman = flagicon|England Keith Hogg
coach = flagicon|England
captain = flagicon|England
lastyear = 2007
lastposition = 9th
league = Superleague
website = http://www.quins.co.uk/Default.ink
currentseason = Harlequins Rugby League 2008
url = www.quins.co.uk
pattern_la1=_blackshoulders| pattern_b1=_quinshome| pattern_ra1=_blackshoulders| leftarm1=008000| body1=| rightarm1=008000| shorts1=FFFFFF| pattern_so1=_quins
leftarm2=FFFFFF|body2= 970045 |rightarm2=FFFFFF| rightarm2=FFFFFF| shorts2=FFFFFF| pattern_so2=_quins
Harlequins Rugby League is a
rugby leagueclub representing the greater Londonarea. They are currently the premier rugby league side in London, and play in the Super League. They have since been joined in the professional ranks by the London Skolarsin 2003. The capital also has a number of amateur teams, including London Griffinswho are the team of Harlequins' supporters.
Until the end of the 2005 season they were known as London Broncos, playing their last game under that name on 23 September 2005 and changing their name officially on 17 October 2005. Their current name is also shortenend to Harlequins RL or Quins RL. They had also previously been gone by the names Fulham and London Crusaders.
The club play at
The Stoop, home of the Harlequins rugby union club. The home shirt is very similar to the union club's famous multi-coloured quartered jersey (light blue, magenta, chocolate, French grey, black & light green). It does, however, incorporate a Rugby League twist with the quarters forming a slight "v" shape. The away shirt for the 2008 season features pale and navy blue quarters. A predominantly black training shirt is also available.
Previous rugby league clubs in London
Professional rugby league was briefly represented in London in the 1930s by "London Highfield" (who played only one season), "Acton & Willesden" (also one season) and "Streatham & Mitcham" (one and a half seasons). All were ultimately driven out of business through poor finances.
Thereafter, the sport in England remained exclusively a northern game until June 1980, when Fulham Football Club announced the formation of a rugby league team, with the primary intention of creating another income stream for the soccer club. The Rugby Football League (RFL), keen to expand the sport beyond its traditional northern heartland, instantly accepted the new club and one of the game's leading players,
Reg Bowden, was recruited to act as player-coach. Within weeks, Bowden had assembled a team of experienced players, together with a few youngsters. Nearly 10,000 curious fans turned up for the opening game at Craven Cottage, most of whom were watching their first ever live Rugby League match. The newly formed side surprisingly beat highly regarded Wigan 24-5. Fulham RL went on to win the Division Two Championship and secured promotion.
After the euphoria generated in their initial season, immediate relegation in 1981-82 was a sobering reality check and at the end of their fourth season continuing financial losses saw the plug pulled by the parent soccer club. However with the backing of supporters Roy and Barbara Close, and with an enthusiastic new coach
Roy Lester, Fulham RL still had a future. Between 1984 and 1994 the club spent periods based at Crystal Palace (1984-5 and 1990-3) and Chiswick Polytechnic Sports Ground (1985-90). This decade was noted for its continued struggle both on and off the pitch, but the club still managed to keep its head just above water. They also played one-off games at places such as Wealdstone F.C.and Chelsea F.C.'s ground Stamford Bridge in 1983. They also played matches at the home grounds of Brentford F.C.and semi professional football side Hendon F.C.
A 1991 name change to 'London Crusaders' coincided with an entertaining period on the pitch. The climax of this spell was a 1994 appearance in the Divisional Premiership Final under coach Tony Gordon.
The Crusaders moved from Crystal Palace to
Barnet Copthallin 1993.
was buying the club, which would be renamed 'London Broncos'. In 1996, despite not playing in the top flight, the London Broncos were selected by the RFL to be part of the new Super League on the basis that it was essential for the sport to have a high profile representative in the capital. Former Brisbane Bronco Tony Currie took up the role of Head Coach. The club moved to The Valley, the home ground of
Charlton Athletic F.C.. The 1996 season brought the best attendances since the inaugural season at Craven Cottage. Tony Rearetired from playing at the end of the season to take up the Chief Executive role at the club.
After two years they moved once again, to the Harlequin rugby union club's Stoop Memorial Ground.
Richard Branson's Virgin Group became majority shareholders, and the immediate future looked very bright. In 1997, after a remarkably good season they finished second in Super League. Highlights that year included victories at the Stoop over Canberra in the World Club Challengeand Bradford and Wigan in Super League II.
In 1998, as part of rugby league's "on the road" scheme London Broncos played Bradford Bulls at Tynecastle in Edinburgh in front of over 7,000 fans. Success continued in 1998 with a first appearance in the Challenge Cup semi-finals, losing to Wigan. Head coach Tony Currie left the club at the end of the 1998 Super League season and was replaced by
In 1999, the club went one better, having its best cup run to date. Following a famous semi final victory over Castleford, the Broncos reached the Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium for the first time, but were defeated 52-16 by Leeds. The club sacked Stains after the Broncos endured a long losing streak during the Super League campaign.
Tony Reawas appointed temporary joint head coach with Stains' assistant Les Kiss. Rea and Kiss managed to steer Broncos out of the slump.
After a second brief spell back at The Valley, fervent supporter David Hughes purchased the majority shareholding from Virgin in a major restructuring of the club. In 2000,
John Moniewas appointed head coach. Monie only stayed in the job until the last month of the 2000 Super League season with the club endured a mediocre season during his tenure. Rea took over caretaker coach until the end of the season and Broncos sailed to mid-table security. Rea resigned his Chief Executive role at the end of the 2000 season to become head coach on a full-time basis.
In 2002, the Broncos moved back across
Londonto play at Griffin Parkas tenants of Brentford F.C.. 2003 marked the club's first Super League play off appearance, losing in the first round to St Helens 24-6 at Knowsley Road.
The 2005 season was marked by significant activity off the pitch as the club welcomed new chairman and majority shareholder
Ian Lenaganwho had bought up 65% of the shares. This was followed by the announcement of a partnership with Harlequin F.C.rugby union club that would see the side return to Twickenham Stoop as Harlequins RL for the 2006 season.
Harlequins Rugby League
On 8th July 2006, after a disappointing run of form for the team, the Harlequins Rugby League club announced a re-organisation of the coaching set-up. Rea was replaced as head coach by
Leeds Rhinos' assistant coach Brian McDermott, but was appointed to his current position on the club's board of directors. He has since left this position.
The team completed its first season as Harlequins RL with 7th place in
Super League XI. Although finishing strongly to avoid relegation, the run of 4 consecutive home defeats at the start of the season proved difficult to overcome. Super League XIIin 2007 saw the team finishing 9th falling short of contention for a playoff spot.
In December 2007, Chairman
Ian Lenaganbecame owner of his home town club Wigan Warriors. Although handing over to a new Chairman Keith Hogg, Ian Lenaganwill be allowed to maintain a major shareholding for a further two years.
The different incarnations of the club have each worn different kits. Fulham used an all black kit with white chevron and red trim. Under the Crusaders the kit used the same colours but in a variety of designs, but still mainly black and with the Broncos name they wore red, yellow and blue in a variety of styles, with red being the main colour for the last 5 years
Brian McDermott- Head Coach
Latham Tawhai- Assistant Coach
Rob Powell- Assistant Coach
Bill Peden- Strength and Conditioning
See here for the 2008 season
2008 Engage Super League
*Round 13 played at
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.
***engage Super League Grand Final to be played at
Old Trafford, Manchester.
Former players of note
See here of a
list of London Broncos players.
Zebastian Lucky Luisi
Individual player records
*Most tries in a game: 5 by
Martin Offiahvs Whitehaven, 14th March 1999
*Most tries in a season (any competition): 43 by Mark Johnson, 1993-94
*Most tries in a season (Super League): 24 by
Denis Moran, 2003
*Most career tries (any competition): 86 by
Scott Roskell, 1992-97
*Most career tries (Super League): 74 by
Denis Moran, 2001-04
*Most goals in a game (any competition): 13 by
Rob Purdhamvs Barrow Raiders, 20th May 2006
*Most goals in a game (Super League): 12 by Paul Sykes vs
Wakefield Trinity, 27th February 2005
*Most goals in a season (any competition): 159 by John Gallagher, 1993-94
*Most goals in a season (Super League): 120 by Paul Sykes, 2005
*Most career goals (any competition): 309 by
Steve Diamond, 1981-84
*Most career goals (Super League): 229 by Paul Sykes, 2001-06
*Most points in a game (any competition): 34 by
Rob Purdhamvs Barrow Raiders, 20th May 2006
*Most points in a game (Super League): 28 by
Greg Barwickvs Castleford Tigers, 25th August 1996
*Most Points in a season (any competition): 384 by John Gallagher, 1993-94
*Most Points in a season (Super League): 290 by Paul Sykes, 2005
*Most career points (any competition): 772 by Paul Sykes, 2001-07
*Most career points (Super League): 750 by Paul Sykes, 2001-07
*Most career appearances: 202 by
Steele Retchless, 1998-04
* Most tackles made in any Super League Match: 66 by
Steele Retchless(against Bradford in 1998. This is an all-time Super League record).
* Largest attendance (Challenge Cup): 15,013 vs
Wakefield Trinityat Craven Cottageon 15th February 1981
* Largest attendance (Super League): 9,638 vs Paris St. Germain at The Valley on 4th April 1996
* Biggest victory (any competition): 82-0 vs Highfield (in Regal Trophy) on 12th November 1995
* Biggest victory (Challenge Cup): 82-8 vs
Barrow Raiderson 20th May 2006
* Biggest victory (Super League): 72-8 vs Wakefield on 27th February 2005
*Sport in London
* [http://www.quins.co.uk/ClubRLHub.ink Official website]
* [http://www.sendintheclowns.org.uk/ Send In The Clowns fans website]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2006/02/01/harlequins_rl_news_interviews.shtml BBC London interactive site featuring live game commentary, the Thursday night magazine show and interviews.]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_league/super_league/london/4703897.stm New chairman plus ground share with Quins]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_league/super_league/london/4712141.stm Partnership with Quins, including name change] - accessed from
BBCon 26 July 2005
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