About our Club
The rugby section of Grasshopper Club Zürich has its origin in Rugby Club Zurich. This club has made a significant contribution to the history of the sport in Switzerland, as it is one of the two oldest clubs in the country.
Rugby was widespread in Switzerland prior to the Second World War, declined during the war and only regained its momentum in the 1960's. An interesting fact is that the most famous and successful professional sports club in Switzerland Grasshopper Club Zürich already had some members playing rugby beforw WW2, but not as an official section at that time.
Rugby Club Zurich was founded in 1968 by members of the international community in Zurich and initially most games were played against foreign teams. In 1970, RC Cern organized a „Challenge d‘Amitié“ between existing Swiss clubs, later known as the „Challenge Laurent Membrez“. This led on to the formation of the Federation Suisse de Rugby (FSR) in 1972, which RCZ joined as the then sole representative of the German-speaking Northeastern Switzerland.
In 2008 the members of Rugby Club Zurich decided together with Grasshoppers Club Zürich that the Rugby Club would become an official section of the Grasshopper Club.
The Men's Teams
From 1972-1974, Rugby Club Zürich (RCZ) played in the 1st Division, dropped to the 2nd Division until 1980, when a place in the top league was regained. This success coincided with a period of substantial growth and led to the foundation of a second team. Following another spell in the 2nd Division, a high point in the Club‘s history was reached when the A-league Federation Cup was won in 1989, in 2003 and most recently in 2013.
Many other successes have been gained over the years, not least repeated wins of the Fair-Play-Cup – a reflection of club policy to play attractive, fair rugby.
There has long been a 2nd XV playing a strong supporting role to the 1st team. With the advent of our training/third team, the Heugümpers, the second team has been freed from its other role of training new players, and has developed into an effective force in the leagues in Switzerland.
A new third team, called the Heugümpers, was formed in 2008 with the role of developing players new to the game by participating in friendly matches. In this it has been extremely successful, and many ex-Heugümpers now play in the 1st and 2nd teams. The Heugümpers have recently merged with the 2nd team in order to be more competitive especially at away-games.
The Ladies Teams – Valkyries
RCZ also has a flourishing women‘s team, which was established in 1996 through the efforts of Beth Ross. Following the first trial season (96/97) in which Zürich were runners up to Yverdon, an official Swiss women‘s league was played for the first time. RCZ donated the „Beth Ross Cup“ to the FSR. An aptly named trophy as it was mainly through her efforts that a women‘s team in Zurich and a women‘s national league Switzerland were established. Zürich promptly won the cup in the 97/98 season and came second to Basel in the 98/99 season.
Since the 2007 season womens rugby has been taken over and administered by the North Swiss Rugby Association. The need of a more intense and supportive body to provide direction and a playing platform in womens rugby was desperately needed and the NSRV gladly took over the position. This gave rise to the Womens League, allowing all womens clubs the chance to further play in the 15-a-side discipline.
There are currently 6 Swiss teams (Basel, Bern, Luzern, Yverdon, Cern Ladies and Zurich) playing in the Swiss women‘s league, regional tournaments are contested on a regular basis and a national team plays under the regional banner or the NSRV. The Swiss Federation has nevertheless a registered 7-a-side squad and through the incentives from Dublin in the IRB offices Switzerland will be encouraged heartedly to promote the reappearance of a national 15. Our ladies star and dominate both 7's and 15 in national and international arenas.
The Golden Oldies – Gnomes
The club‘s fourth team are the 'Golden Oldies‘, comprised of players over the age of 35 who are unable or - as in most cases - are no longer capable of adapting to the rigours of the modern game. The Swiss Gnomes (as they like to be called) were first seen in 1994 when they surfaced in Heidelberg (D) to join the 2nd European Golden Oldies Festival.
Amongst other achieve-ments, the Golden Oldies were the winners of the „The Battered Relic“ trophy and „Happiest Team“ award in Verona in 1996 and of the „Oldest Referee“ and „Best Dressed Team“ awards at the 4th European Golden Oldies Festival 1998. They took fourth place in the 1999 Bordeaux World Golden Oldies Gala Tournament.
In 2006 the Gnomes have hosted the European Golden Oldies Tournament, this platform showed the true devotion and spirit which these pilgrim fathers have for the sport and the club through the total success. In the year 2007 tours to Haifa and Bridgnorth were completed.
The year 2008 brought new horizons, tours to Edinburgh for the World Golden Oldies, including a game in Murrayfield and to Madeira where 37 Gnomes participated in the European Golden Oldies in June.
This Tradition was continued by tours to Athens and Argentina in 2009, Carnarfon (Wales) in 2010, Malta in 2011, Trieste in 2012 and Prague in 2013.