The Rugby Club was formed in 1945 as a city base for all rugby players and lovers of the game. Originally the HQ of the NSW Rugby Union and later the ARU, it was where Wallaby touring teams were presented their jerseys. It was also where the Australian and New Zealand Rugby Boards agreed to establish the Rugby World Cup and later the Super Rugby and Tri-Nations competitions.
The Rugby Club prides itself as being ‘The Home of the True Spirit of Rugby’ – thus making it a fitting location as the spiritual home and original clubhouse of Sydney Harlequins.
In 2003 Ross Hazlett, Angus Bruxner (Directors of The Rugby Club) and fellow members of The Rugby Club initiated the formation of a rugby-playing club that would be affiliated with them and the City of Sydney. Thus, Sydney Harlequins RFC was born.
Sydney Harlequins first participated in the New South Wales Suburban Rugby Union (NSWSRU) competition in 2004. ‘Sydney Harlequins Rugby Football Club Incorporated’ was officially formed on 17 June 2004.
Being a rugby-playing club based within the City of Sydney, the Harlequins original premise was to provide young men, who live and work in and around the city, with the opportunity to join and play with a conveniently located club. Furthermore, being a Harlequins club, Sydney Harlequins has since its inception attracted overseas players from many countries, something which has added a unique and significant ethos to the spirit and camaraderie which exists within the Club.
The City of Sydney and Waterloo
Up until 2008, the Sydney Harlequins was one of only two Rugby Clubs situated within the City of Sydney, the other being the Sydney University Football Club. Quins have enjoyed an excellent relationship with the City of Sydney since it began playing its home matches on an outer Wentworth Park field in 2004.
Waterloo Oval was formerly the home ground of South Sydney New Zealand RFC. That club ceased as a Rugby playing entity at the conclusion of the 2004 Rugby season.
Having regarded Waterloo Oval as being an important venue in promoting a rugby presence within the South Sydney precinct of the City of Sydney, the NSWSRU was most supportive of the Sydney Harlequins relocating from Wentworth Park to Waterloo Oval in 2005.
2004-2007: During their inaugural 2004 Rugby season, Sydney Harlequins participated in the Meldrum Cup (Division 6), a single-grade competition conducted by the NSWSRU, reaching the semifinals and going down in somewhat controversial circumstances to the eventual premiers. The Club’s initial home ground was situated on the outer fields of Wentworth Park, Ultimo, which being adjacent to a major greyhound racing facility was affectionately known as ‘dog heaven’.
During 2005 to 2007, the Club fielded three teams in the McLean, Grose and Walker Cups of Division 4. The Club reached the semifinals of the 2005 Walker Cup and final of the 2006 Walker Cup.
In 2007 the Club secured its first premiership with victory in the Walker Cup.
2008/2009: Harlequins Rugby is traditionally based upon a diverse, and to some degree, itinerant playing roster. In 2008, due primarily to the difficulties associated with maintaining an optimum number of regularly available players, Sydney Harlequins reduced its involvement to two teams in Division 5 (Jeffrey and Noice Cups) of the NSWSRU competition.
The Club won the Jeffrey Cup (1st Grade) Premiership in 2008 and reached the Preliminary Final of the Jeffrey Cup in 2009.
2010: In 2010, the Club secured its first Club Championship and Minor Premierships in both the Jeffrey and Noice Cups. Regrettably, its Jeffrey Cup team bowed out in the Preliminary Final. Although the Noice Cup team advanced to the Grand Final, it was unable to secure the premiership.
The Club was also declared as 2010 Club of the Year for Division 5. This was indeed a great honour for the Sydney Harlequins, because the award recognises the all-round achievements of the Club both on and off the playing field.
Consequently, notwithstanding the disappointment of not winning a premiership 2010 was an extremely successful season for the Sydney Harlequins.
2011: The Club again fielded two teams in Division 5 [Jeffrey and Noice Cups] during the 2011 Rugby season.
The Jeffrey Cup (1st Grade) team were minor premiers and were crowned undefeated Champions on Grand Final day. The Noice Cup (2nd Grade) team secured the minor premiership. The Club again secured the 2011 Division 5 Club Championship and Club of the Year awards.
2012: Despite suffering a massive injury toll at vital stages of the 2012 season, both 1st and 2nd Grades made the finals. The Jeffrey Cup team even made the Grand Final, going down 14-10 to current rivals Redfield Old Boys.
2013: In what was an extremely competitive Division 4, both the Jeffrey Cup and Noice Cup teams made the finals and the Club came second (by quite a significant margin over the third placed club) to Redfield Old Boys in the Club Championship. The 1st grade team progressed to the Preliminary Final, where they were defeated by the eventual premiers Sydney Irish.
2014: The Club grew to field three teams in Division 4 (McLean, Grose and Walker Cups). All three teams qualified for the finals with the 1st and 3rd Grades progressing to the Preliminary Finals.
2015: The Club had enough players to form a 4th team: The Halligans. The 1st grade team progressed to the Preliminary Final, where they were defeated by Sydney Irish.
2016/2017: The Harlequins saw the highest number of players in club history. The 1st grade team progressed to the Preliminary Final in 2016, where they were defeated by the eventual Premiers, Blacktown.
2018: The Quins won the McLean Cup (1st Grade) Premiership on Grand Final day, after many years of hard work.
2019: The Quins had its most successful and rewarding year to date, taking home all three cups; the McLean Cup, Walker Cup, and Jeffrey Cup Premierships on Grand Final day. Quins also welcomed Easts Rugby Club Colts to form the Quins Colts XV, a prized part of the club.
2020: With the world working it’s way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, NSW was lucky enough to see amateur sport played with various restrictions. Newly promoted to Division 3 of NSW Suburban Rugby Union, Quins were extraordinarily lucky to see half a season of rugby during a difficult time for many less fortunate around the world.
2021: NSW Rugby sadly saw the first cancelled season after having completed only 9 games before the second wave of COVID-19 hit Sydney. All 4 sides were well-placed and will hope to continue that momentum into the 2022 season.
2021 also saw the introduction of ClutchTV as the source of watching Sydney Harlequins live online and 4nTwenty as a valued sponsor of NSW Suburban Rugby.
Sydney Harlequins are confident that the success which they have enjoyed during their relatively short history will continue to have a significantly positive impact upon the future development of the Club.