Competing continuously for 50 years, The LOS ANGELES RUGBY CLUB is the second oldest club in the Southern California Rugby Football Union. The Club was founded in 1958 as the Universities Rugby Club. Founding members included Al Williams and Dick Hyland, members of the Gold Medal winning 1924 USA Olympic Rugby Team.
Los Angeles Rugby Club (LARC) has contributed extensively to the development of the game of Rugby Union Football on the Pacific Coast and the USA. Many teams can trace their beginnings to the direct effort of the LARC or to former members who have relocated and founded clubs in their respective areas.
On the pitch, LARC players have a distinguished themselves at the highest levels. Our USA International players include: Barry Williams (Wing); Boyd Morrison (Center); Bill Brown (Hooker); Ray Nelson (Fullback); Steve Gray (Captain & Flyhalf); John Mickel (Scrumhalf); Joe Clarkson (Flyhalf); John Jelaco (Prop); Michael Skahan (Wing); Rob Duncanson (Wing); Jamie Grant (Hooker). Ray Nelson, capped 25 times, is the eighth leading scorer in US history.
Other International LARC players are: Doug Rollerson, Gary Cunningham (New Zealand); Ray Mordt (South Africa); Ernesto Ure (Argentina); Paul McNaughton (Ireland), Mick Jackman (Ireland)
For many years prior to professionalism, LARC were the SCRFU Division 1 Champions waging very heated competition with long-time rivals Santa Monica, OMBAC, and Belmont Shore. In 1984, the club was the Pacific Coast RFU Territorial Champion and Division 1 National Finalists.
LARC has regularly supplied administrators, direction, and momentum for the development of Rugby Union Football in the USA. For example, LARC members have been officers of: USA Rugby (Dick Moneymaker - President; Paul Ganey - Director); Pacific Coast RFU (Dick Moneymaker - President); Southern California RFU (Moneymaker, Devine, Farley, Ganey, Ginepra, Holt, S. Ninegar, Sardell, P. Wooler, J. Scott, Jenks, B. Kelley); Southern California Rugby Referees Society (Piggott, T. Rauch, Ginepra).
The current USA Rugby Sevens Head Coach is former longtime LARC player Al Caravelli. Other notable former LARC players now coaching include: Head Coach Marty Jones, Joe Katoa, Julian Bristow and Barry Williams at LARC; Steve Gray at U.C. Davis; Tim Hock & Larry Docimo at Loyola Marymount University.
In the early days, Dick Moneymaker and Leon Farley, LARC members, worked together for nearly a decade to bring to fruition the United States of America Rugby Football Union (now USA Rugby) in 1976. Their efforts toward this, dating from their days as active players in 1965, began at club meetings, continued at the SCRFU level where all three were officers and were strengthened by the formulation of the only territorial union position paper advocating a national union in 1968.
The Club has sponsored the SCRFU Seven-a-Side Tournament and currently hosts the popular Catalina Island Rugby Festival administered by Tom Hendrix and LARC Honorary Life Member Joe Hendrix. These tournaments have raised funds for charitable contributions from LARC to The Special Olympics, The Wellness Community, and many others.
LARC former players embraced Over-35 Masters rugby early, with the amazing L.A. Lunchtime Legends, organized by Freddie Rauch. For many years in the 60's and 70's, the Club's ground was the home of the informal Los Angeles Summer Rugby Academy, where hundreds of players learned their first rugby. Longtime LARC stalwarts Al Ginepra, Bob Sardell and El Holt started the sessions in 1965.
Our tours and tournament play is an important part of our history. In 1967, LARC was the first mainland club side to tour Hawaii. In 1974 the Club had its first European trip - a two-week, five game tour of France and Belgium. Our host was French club Chateaurenard RFC, which we in turn hosted in 1975. In September 1977, the club toured Wales and Ireland and played eight matches. A five match tour to New Zealand followed in 1980. Throughout our history, LARC played in and often won tournaments in Hawaii, Monterey, Tucson, San Diego, San Francisco, Vail, Santa Barbara, etc.
LARC has played host to many quality rugby touring sides visiting the U.S. Pacific Coast. Recent matches have been against teams such as: Club Pueyrredon, St. Andrews F.P. (Argentina); Ponsonby, Kaierau, Paeroa West (New Zealand); Paris University Club, Chateaurenard (France); Old Wesley, Clontarf, Old Crescent (Ireland); Sale, Orrell, Richmond, Osterley (England).
Bill Kelley
Club Historian