Rugby History

Rugby in the BVI has existed since the 1960’s and has seen  lots of changes since then. It all began when a group of British, South African  and Australian expats living in Tortola formed a team and played against a  group of Royal Navy engineers who came to BVI to build the original airport.  The game, played on Beef Island on a dirt and rocks pitch prepared by the  engineers on what is now the site of the current airport, finished with most  players losing all the skin on their knees. Since then,  BVI Rugby has  been played in several locations from Capoons Bay in West End to the Valley  Virgin Gorda.

During the 80’s and 90’s most games were played on the A.O.  Shirley Ground in the heart of Road Town but the construction of the rubberized  track in October 2005 halted all use of the facility. Rugby bounced around the  island(s)playing wherever was most suitable until early 2010 when the Union was  finally granted access back to its home on the A.O Shirley.

At least twice a year the BVI men’s squads get to face off against the  Royal Navy as they pass through the territory and we often host US University teams on their spring breaks.

Today we have grown to become one of the leading rugby unions in the Caribbean, with a extensive membership of rugby enthusiasts. Our rugby programme includes women’s touch, mixed touch,  junior tag rugby, U14’s Touch, U16’s Touch, U19’s 7’s, 2 men’s domestic clubs and our National 1st XV and National 1st 7’s squad compete annually in the regional iRB Championship hosted by NACRA.

The BVI RFU have invested heavily in the youth in the past 5 years and the work has really started to pay off. Now with over 300 youths participating in rugby in the territory the game has secured a future. Rory Thornton, Austin Keil and Melvin Knight are 3 teenage BVIslanders who have come through the BVIRFU Schools Rugby system and are now regularly featuring in the National squads being selected to compete on the Caribbeans top stage. With several other youngsters preparing for U19’s regional competition and waiting in the wings for a call up to the BVI 1st XV, BVI is well poised for runs towards silverware at the NACRA tournament and eventually qualification for the 7’s at the 2020 games.

The men’s team practices every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:15 till dark  on the A.O. Shirley field in Road Town. Under 19’s Tuesday from 4:30. New players are always welcome. Please  contact Rugby Development Officer “RDO” Sherlock “Solomon” Sam on 284- 341-2179.