The History of London Rugby Clubs
London, capital of England and city of rugby, has no less than 4 clubs in first division
(Premiership). Taking the 2 lower divisions, there are 9 London clubs. Only the regions of the
Basque Country and Toulouse (in France) could compete in Europe.
The history of these clubs is particularly interesting, especially because most rugby fans do
not know their origins.
Harlequins and London Wasps
It is difficult to differentiate these two historic clubs from English rugby, they are both the
result of the 1870 split of the Hampstead Football Club. The Hampstead club decided to change its
name because of these players who were no longer from the Hampstead area. The leaders still
wanted to keep the initials « HFC », and the name of Harlequins Football Club was found. Half of
the squad disagreed with this decision and separated from the group to create a new team: the
London Wasps. The choice of wasps and jersey color would be due to Victorian times.
The current European champion was founded in 1876 by members of the Philological School
of Marylebone in London. The name of the «Saracens» comes from the Saracens, the warriors of
the desert of the twelfth century; famous for their endurance, their enthusiasm and their invincibility.
This is why the crescent and the star are present on the Saracens logo in honor of the flag of the
The London Irish, also known as the ‘exiles’ were founded by a group of Irish youth in 1898.
There are other London clubs that come from neighboring countries, such as the London Welsh for
Wales, or the London Scottish for Scotland. The London Irish club experienced significant difficulties
during the First World War and the Irish Civil War. It was not until 1923 (creation of the Free State of
Ireland) that Irish players returned to England. (https://www.london-irish.com/)
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