Rugby Union Writers’ Club

The Rugby Union Writers’ Club celebrates its diamond jubilee in 2020. The club was formed at a meeting in the Albany public house, Station Yard, Twickenham, on 16 January 1960, having been conceived during a discussion between the late Terry O’Connor (Daily Mail), John Reed (Sunday Express), Fred Garside (Hayters Agency) and John Reason (Sunday Telegraph) at the Cock Tavern, Fleet Street.

The objects of the club are:

(a) to further the interests of Rugby Union Football;

(b) to further the interests of its members.

Membership is open to all writers, photographers and broadcasters actively involved in rugby union journalism, and while it is a UK-based organisation, there are members around the world. Applications for membership are welcome, by emailing rugbyunionwritersclub@yahoo.com

The annual meeting of the Rugby Union Writers’ Club is held every year at Twickenham on Premiership final day, and the club stages a hugely popular dinner in London in January to present the Pat Marshall Memorial Award to the outstanding rugby personality of the previous year and, if considered appropriate, a Special Award for lifetime achievement.

The personality of the year for 2019 was Siya Kolisi, the World Cup-winning captain of South Africa, who was presented with the trophy by RUWC committee member Dave Rogers in Cape Town. A video message of thanks from Kolisi was played to the almost 500 guests at the club dinner. Previous winners have included Johnny Sexton, Owen Farrell, Eddie Jones, Dan Carter and Emily Scarratt, and the first recipient was Mervyn Davies, the great Wales No.8, in 1976.

The club presented its Special Award for 2019 to former prop forward Tom Smith, in recognition of his unstinting efforts for Scotland and the British & Irish Lions and his ongoing battle, at the age of 48, with stage-four cancer.

The club also presents tankards to unsung heroes of the game. The most recent recipients were Robert Hayward (co-founder of King’s Cross Steelers RFC), Bob Harding (Walsall RFC), Wasps Ladies coach Giselle Mather and Mircea Paraschiva, the former Romania scrum-half, captain and coach. A summary of their stories can be read here: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2020/jan/14/siya-kolisi-rugby-union-writers-club-award

Tankards have also been presented in recent years to: Danielle ‘Nolli’ Waterman, Paul Tupai, Tony Rodgers, Phil Keith-Roach, Gary Forge, Max Boyce (for his 30 years-plus service to Glynneath RFC), Michael Harrison of Wharfedale RUFC, Bryan James (secretary of Treorchy RFC in the Rhondda Valley), Chris Myers (honorary doctor at Rotherham Titans); Des Seabrook (president and colts coach of Orrell; past player, coach and administrator with Orrell, Lancashire, the North of England and England); England’s most-capped women’s player Rochelle Clark, Dave Townsend from Cheltenham RFC, Nick Oates of Wetherby RUFC, Terwyn Williams from London Welsh and the Welsh Exiles, three fund-raisers at Cirencester RFC, Alison Donnelly (Scrum Queens website), Rob Smith of Wasps, Sam Drury (Ossett) and Roy Lewis (Ebbw Vale).

RUWC OFFICERS 2019

President: David Hands
E: davidhands47@gmail.com
T: 07770 350845

Chairman: Robert Kitson
E: rob.kitson@theguardian.com

T: 07785 778126

Vice-chairman: Duncan Bech
E: duncan.bech@pressassociation.com
T: 07595 472531

Honorary Secretary: Hugh Godwin
E: hughgodwin@yahoo.co.uk
T: 07968 392688

Honorary Treasurer: Chris Jones
E: chris@chrisjones.media
T: 07774 772820