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KANSAS CITY BLUES RUGBY - HISTORY




History of the Kansas City Blues Rugby Club

  Kansas City Blues  - 1967 Aspen Ruggerfest
 
1967 Aspen Ruggerfest
Based on a loose affiliation with both UMKC and Rockhurst College, the Kansas City Blues Rugby Club was established in 1966. Strides were taken early on to develop a unique Club identity and culture by the founding members, and throughout the 70's and 80's, the Blues elevated their rugby knowledge and skill level to become one of the dominant teams in the United States. In 2011, the Blues field an active roster of 50 players, an Old Boys side (35+ years) called the Blues Brothers, a U-19 high school side (Jr. Blues), close support of 5 other U-19 and high school sides in the KC area, and an even larger supporting cast of non-playing members.

Since 1993, the Blues have participated in two Division 1 National Championship Final Fours in 15's rugby, placing 4th in 1993 and 3rd in 1994. The Blues have also been a fixture in the 7's National Championships, competing at Nationals in 8 of the last 17 years, placing 2nd in 1993, 5th in 1998 and 2nd in 2000.

A founding Club in 1996 and 10-year member of the United States Rugby Super League, the Blues compiled a 19-18-2 record in their first five seasons, advancing to the League semi-finals in 2000 and 2001. However, from 2003-2006 the Blues struggled to a combined 5-23 record and saw their numbers decrease under the burden of player turnover, and the overwhelming financial demands of competing in the nation's top competition.

  Kansas City Blues  - 1967 Aspen Ruggerfest
 
USA Eagle Doug Brown
1999 Hong Kong 7s

In an effort to rebuild a proud Club that celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2006, the Blues made the difficult decision, following the departure of many other National Top Clubs to deparrt from the League they helped build since 1996. Exiting as a 10-year member and partner in the widely successful Super League, the Blues wish for the continued success of the competition, and have established a long-term plan for potential re-entry. The Blues re-joined the USA Rugby's Division 1 ranks in the fall of 2007 with high expectations and a bright future, and in the spring of 2010 made it back to the D1 National Championships Round of 16.

Over the years, countless Blues have represented the Western Territory at the National All-Star Championships, and on tours with the Western Territory to New Zealand and Canada. The International Rugby Board (IRB) initiated North American Cross-Border Competition, the 'North American Four', was developed in early 2006 to provide an elite, professional level of rugby just below the international level for both Canada and the United States. Two Blues were members of the inaugural NA4 competition that year.

The Blues have also recently sent a number of players to the US National Team, The Eagles, in both 7's and 15's rugby. Doug Brown, Michael Skahan, and Steve Robke all spent a considerable amount of time on tour with the Eagles 7's side in the late 90's and early 00's. Maika Sika has been capped over 45 times for the both the 7's and 15's sides. Tim Kluempers represented the US in 15's three times in 2001, and most recently in 2007-2008, former Blue Fraser Leavasa was invited to try-out for the Eagles 7s side and Casey Cummings was a regular in the US U17 and U18 sides, while Tommy Saunders played in 4 IRB Series events with the Eagles 7's side in 2010.

  Kansas City Blues  - 1967 Aspen Ruggerfest
 
2012 D1 and D3 Nationals

The U.S.A. Eagles Rugby Players Association, better known as "Team America" and "Classic-Eagles", was formed in 1986 by a group of former U.S. National Team players and has established participation in international competitions over the past 15 years, including the World Rugby Classic, held each November in Bermuda. Team America has played in the Bermuda Classic since 1988, and has proven that it can play against any classic rugby team (players of age 32 and up), having beaten England, Scotland, Wales, France, New Zealand and South Africa. Team America musters a squad of 25 men every year for Bermuda, and the Kansas City Blues are always well-represented in the line-up.

The Kansas City Blues are made up of men from all walks of life. The active roster boasts a range in player's ages from 19 - 41, consisting of students, doctors, lawyers, sales professionals, corporate executives, teachers, and more. The Blues lead a very demanding lifestyle, adding 2 practices a week and outside training to their busy work schedules and families. Most importantly, the Blues are a family, a brotherhood, and we pride ourselves on the bonds formed and fostered both on and off the pitch.

Blues With International Experience

It's a pleasure for any club to be able to place its members on the national team. We have also been able to raise the standard of play through the example set by national team players from other countries

United States
Hal Edwards - Reserve ('76-'84)
Gary Shull - Cougars ('76)
Kirk Miles - 2 caps ('82)
Fred Paoli - 20 caps ('82-'91)
Frank Kennedy - USA 'A' (1988)
Maika Sika - 17 caps ('93-'97)
Tim Kluempers - 5 caps ('96-'01)

United States 7s
Doug Brown ('99-'00)
Steve Robke ('99-'00)
Michael Skahan ('99-'00)
Tommy Saunders ('10)
Collegiate All-Americans
Joe Fridkin - UMKC ('91)
Steve Robke - Kansas State ('91-'92)
Tony Vontz - Cal ('03-'04)
Sean Foley - Truman State ('04-'05)
United States U19
Chuck DiMartino ('97-'98)
Jesse Cuavas ('98)
Tony Vontz ('99)
Joe Orscheln ('00)
Dustin Orscheln ('02)
Robert Reintjes ('02)
Mike Kelly ('04)
United States U18
Casey Cummings ('08)
Johann Swanepoel ('09)
Rick Korvick ('11)
United States U17
Casey Cummings ('07)
Peru 15s
Pablo Carrera ('99-'07)
Fiji 7s
Jonetani Vulaono ('99-'01)
Kenya 7s and 15s
Arnold Odera ('06-'09)
Belgium
Alain Miriallakis ('12)

Blues From Overseas

Over the years the Blues have had the honor of hosting many players from overseas, continually welcoming elite foreign-based players into the Blues family in an effort to not only raise the standard of play within the Club, but also to give those players an opportunity to exeprience life and rugby in the Midwestern United States.

Australia
Jim Crompton - center - 2007
Joey Shirley - lock - 2007-2009
Belgium
Alain Miriallakis - prop - 2012
Denmark
Jan Andersen - flyhalf - 1997
Tim Paulsen - flanker - 1997
England
Geraint Hill - lock - 2005
Fiji
Jonetani Vulaono 1999-2001
Sami Rakatia - center - 2010-2011
Ireland
Matt O'Connor - scrumhalf - 1967-1968
Steve Morris - flyhalf - 1980-1981
Kenya
Arnold Odera - flanker - 2008-2009
New Zealand
David Gower - flanker - 2003
Glenn Jenkins - coach - 1991
Kiel Mans - flanker - 2012
Glenn McIntosh - Number 8 - 2008
Bob Telfer - coach - 2001-2003

South Africa
Ron Colin - coach - 1994
Sean Colin - flyhalf - 1993-1994
Matt Alexander - flyhalf- 2005
Fouche du Toit - flanker - 2005-2006
Johann Kapp - coach - 2004
Marno Nel - center - 2005
Wales
Eddie Hunt - coach - 1987
Eddie Hunt Jr. - center - 1987-1990
Michael Hunt - center - 1987-1990
Keith Lee - scrumhalf - 1987-1990
Dai Lowery - hooker - 1986-1987
Sean O'Brian - flanker - 1987-1990

Kansas City Blues Rugby Club
www.kcblues.org