Thank you to Marc Wolvin, one of the founding fathers of rugby in Outaouais for this entertaining and surprinsingly accurate history of rugby in our region. 

​It all started in earnest back in 2004 with the foundation of Rugby Outaouais, and a group of U18 boys and girls playing summer rugby. Rugby Outaouais then served as the blanket association under which our rugby programs in the area were able to cultivate or operate (which includes our civic teams, school leagues, and provincial pursuits). We are forever grateful to our friends, families and volunteers over all the years, and to Loisirs Sport Outaouais, a key funding partner in our earliest years.

As a footnote, there was rugby in the area prior to 2004, but not much:
  • A men’s team, the Hull Flyers, played against Ottawa teams in the 1930s (it is little known that this team actually formed the Hull Volant sport and social club!)
  • A high school side (Philemon Wright) participated in the Ottawa league in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
  • Local athletes have always crossed the river to play on Ottawa club sides.

Les Gladiateurs were officially formed with the union, in 2015, of Rugby Outaouais’ juniors and Chelsea Rugby’s minis and Hull Volant’s seniors. A strong ‘fun-first’ philosophy has produced some great local rugby teams, players and memories. We can even boast some success on the field: Our senior women have been to 2 league championships. Our juniors have won a Jeux du Quebec, a U18 championship, and 3 FRQ U18 7s. Our minis have won many youth tournaments over the years. Dozens of our athletes have excelled on provincial rugby sides. Seven local athletes have been capped on a Canada age-grade side (Keegan Watcham-Roy, Natasha Watcham-Roy, Patrick Lynott, Fabio Moniz, Pamphinette Buisa, and Sasha Guedes and Thomas Davidson). Natasha Watcham-Roy became the area’s first senior cap playing with Canada’s Women’s Sevens side in 2014, and won a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics. (Incredibly, all these capped athletes are graduates of Philemon Wright high school– kudos to club coaches Mosher and Holmes!)


Rugby Outaouais is formed to promote and develop the sport of rugby in the Outaouais –it’s also the fastest path to ‘get some money and make a team’ - principal architect is Marc Wolvin. With coaches Kirk Finken, Andrew Matsukubo and Gord Tennant, U18 boys and girls will participate in the FRQ’s 4-region junior program. The first ever games for us are at an exhibition high school tourney in Montebello (Sedbergh school) – and yes, Alex Lepage is on the team. The future looks bright: only 2 no-shows for a 6 a.m bus ride and most players sing in tune on the way home. The early days aren’t easy: the girls play in borrowed sweaters; our first ‘home game’ has to be moved when the visiting team refuses to play on our field of granite and syringes (we scurry up to Mont Bleu to ‘re-grade’ our first soccer field); the guys do not win a game until the final minute of their last. A first season short on victories is full of new adventures, friendships and fun…this is rugby after all.

The girls finally get their own kit. A high school league is formed within RSEQ with 4 schools participating (Philemon Wright, Darcy McGee, Sedbergh and St-Alexandre). Mini-rugby is launched in the Fall in Chelsea with Wolvin, Dennis Walker and Rob Burr at the helm.

Le Mirage is formed with Nicolas Dugal as primary inspiration. A group of enthusiastic, mostly ‘non-rugby’ men learn their way. What they lack in skill (no wins) they make up in ‘spirit’ – easily taking the season’s Red Card derby. They also have the best looking kit EVER. The minis win their first tournament in Montreal with long-time players Michael Wolvin, Scott Thompson, Tate and Keil Walker on the field.

Welcome Didier Peries! Didier brings Grand Riviere into the school league…and goes on to become a tireless, guiding force in the region’s rugby. His school teams never come close to winning, but his players are loaded with life-lessons.

Rugby Outaouais boys win Jeux du Quebec Rugby (it’s first as a demonstration sport – and has 8 regions participating). Allison McGlashan helps coach her first team. Heritage girls play in the RSEQ Cegep league and post a perfect record (0-6). Heritage Men’s Rugby is formed as an exhibition program.

A group of women with ties to the junior and college programs ignite a movement to put together mens and womens sides into the EORU. We partner with the Hull Volant social club to connect with the historical roots of the game in the region, taking their name. Steph Smith, Parisa Sarah, Jean-Francois Gaudreau guide; Stuart Robinson and Nick Mosher coach. Natasha, Brody, Samantha, Bruno, Dillon, Georges, Mylene and many more start to build a ‘club’. The girls are amazing on the field in their first year and contest for the FRQ Div 3 league championship. They also go on the first-ever club tour to the New York 7s. The men make playoffs in the EORU Div 3. Cegep de l’Outaouais launches programs that run for only 2 seasons (we’ll try again!). Greatest plays during this period are made off the field…this is rugby, after all.

Les Gladiateurs are born from the disparate rugby programs brought together under one name and executive to optimize the region’s resources and potential. Nick Mosher commits to playing after coaching for so many years…and then he asks his wife (the guy can still play, but his tactics need updating! 1/2 a season, awesome!). Didier takes over role of president of Rugby Outaouais.

Stephanie Crawley arrives, guides and then brilliantly leads the club, with grace and vision – she becomes our most amazing president ever. Bryce Thomassin also arrives on the scene, first as coach and then as an executive member. With a great cast of interested friends and family and members helping out, we become a true club with our strongest administration and support ever! Our Men join the FRQ Development league and register yet another perfect season for Outaouais rugby (0-10, but everyone remembers we were leading in 7 of those games) – this is a young and very talented team. 3 of our feeder teams, all guided by Gladiateur coaches, get to championship games: U16 school ‘all-stars’ win FRQ 7s; U18 boys incredibly score 3 tries in 5 minutes to tie Kingston - but lose in overtime; Heritage College men lose to John Abbott in first-ever trip to RSEQ finals.

The club gets a shed! The men win 4 games! The men have numbers! The Women are thin in numbers, but strong in determination…they get to finals of EORU Division 1! Parisa should be Coach/Player of the Year of the World! Natasha wins bronze medal at the Rio Olympics!

The Senior Women are second in the league, and make it to the Semi-Finals a great start for there first time in the FRQ league. Senior Men make it to the finals and are 3rd in the season a huge accomplishment for the club as it is there first season in the Provincial Division 3. U18 Men & Women have a tough time with numbers but the group of athletes they have play hard, and show how good of a group the Glads are. U14 women dominate their division, showing us our younger players are going to be amazing once they become senior athletes. The Youth program struggled but we look forward to what will happen in 2018 under the guidance of Steph Crawley.

To be continued…

To be continued…

To be continued...