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See Harlequin F.C. for the sister rugby union club

Harlequins Rugby League is a professional rugby league club representing the greater Londonmarker area. They are currently the premier rugby league side in London, and play in the European Super League. London has one other professional team, the London Skolars, and also a substantial number of amateur teams, although the sport as a whole is predominantly northern in England.

Until the end of the 2005 season the club were known as London Broncos, playing their last game under that name on 23 September 2005 and changing their name officially on 17 October 2005. Their current name is often shortened to Harlequins RL or simply to Quins. The club has also previously been known by its original name, Fulham, and then as London Crusaders.

The club play at The Stoopmarker, which is also the home of the Harlequins Rugby Union club. The home shirt design is similar to the union club's famous multi-coloured quartered jersey (light blue, magenta, chocolate, French grey, black & green). It does, however, incorporate a Rugby League twist with the quarters forming a slight "v" shape. The away shirt for the 2009 season features pale blue and white quarters. The club's major shirt sponsor for this season is St Mary's University College, Twickenham


Previous rugby league clubs in London

Professional rugby league was briefly represented in London in the 1930s by London Highfield (who played only one season), Acton & Willesden (also one season) and Streatham & Mitcham (one and a half seasons). All were speculative clubs set up by local businessmen purely as money making exercises, and were ultimately driven out of business through poor finances. Thereafter, the sport in England remained exclusively a northern based game for over half a century.

Fulham Rugby League Club

In June 1980 Fulham Football Club announced the formation of a rugby league team, with the primary intention of creating another income stream for the soccer club. The Rugby Football League (RFL), keen to try and expand the sport beyond its traditional northern heartland, accepted the new club at once and one of the game's leading players, Reg Bowden, was recruited by the team to act as player-coach. Within only a few weeks weeks, Bowden had assembled an impressive team of experienced players approaching retirement, together with a few youngsters. Nearly 10,000 curious fans turned up for the opening game at Craven Cottagemarker, most of whom, being Londoners, were watching their first ever live Rugby League match. The newly formed side surprisingly beat highly regarded Wigan 24-5 in emotional circumstances, in what has become a fondly remembered match for those fortunate enough to be present . The new Fulham RL team quickly proved to be very competitive and went on to win promotion at the end of their inaugural season.

After the euphoria that was generated in their initial season, immediate relegation in 1981-82 was a reality check. Despite winning the Division Two Championship the following year, a second immediate relegation coupled with continuing financial losses saw the plug pulled by the parent soccer club at the end of their fourth season. However, with the backing of supporters Roy and Barbara Close and with an enthusiastic new coach, former player Roy Lester, Fulham RL still had a future.

Fulham played "home" games against Swinton and Huddersfield in Widnesmarker, Cheshiremarker in April 1983 as the pitch at the Cottage had disintegrated in the wet winter following the collapse of the main drain to the river under the Miller Stand.

Between 1984 and 1994 the club spent periods based at Crystal Palace National Sports Centremarker (1984-5 and 1990-3) and at Chiswick Polytechnic Sports Ground (1985-90). This decade was noted for its continued struggle both on and off the pitch, but the club still managed to keep its head just above water financially. They also several played one-off games at venues around London such as Wealdstone F.C., Hendon F.C., Brentford F.C. and Chelsea F.C.'s ground Stamford Bridgemarker in 1983.

London Crusaders Rugby League Club

A 1991 name change to 'London Crusaders' coincided with an entertaining and slightly more successful period on the pitch. The climax of this spell was a 1994 appearance in the Divisional Premiership Final under coach Tony Gordon.

The Crusaders moved from Crystal Palace National Sports Centremarker to Barnet Copthallmarker arena in 1993. The RFL briefly owned the Crusaders in 93/94 as the Bartrams departed.

London Broncos Rugby League Club

In the spring of 1994 it was announced that the Australian NSWRLside the Brisbane Broncos was buying the club, which would be renamed 'London Broncos'. Gordon was replaced by a Brisbane coach, Gary Grienke.[88898]

In 1996, despite not playing in the top flight, the London Broncos were selected by the RFL to be part of the new Super League competition on the basis that it was essential for the sport to have a high profile representative in the capital. Former Brisbane Bronco Tony Currie took up the role of Head Coach. The club moved to The Valleymarker, the home ground of Charlton Athletic F.C.. The 1996 season brought the best attendances since the inaugural season at Craven Cottagemarker. Tony Rea retired from playing at the end of the season to take up the Chief Executive role at the club.

After two years they moved once again, to the Harlequin rugby union club's Stoop Memorial Ground. Richard Branson's Virgin Group became majority shareholders, and the immediate future looked very bright. In 1997, after a remarkably good season they finished second in Super League. Highlights that year included victories at the Stoop over Canberra in the World Club Challenge and Bradford and Wigan in Super League II.

In 1998, as part of rugby league's "on the road" scheme London Broncos played Bradford Bulls at Tynecastlemarker in Edinburgh in front of over 7,000 fans. Success continued in 1998 with a first appearance in the Challenge Cup semi-finals, losing to Wigan. Head coach Tony Currie left the club at the end of the 1998 Super League season and was replaced by Dan Stains.

In 1999, the club went one better, having its best cup run to date. Following a famous semi final victory over Castleford, the Broncos reached the Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadiummarker for the first time, but were defeated 52-16 by Leeds. The club sacked Stains after the Broncos endured a long losing streak during the Super League campaign. Tony Rea was appointed temporary joint head coach with Stains' assistant Les Kiss. Rea and Kiss managed to steer Broncos out of the slump.

After a second brief spell back at The Valley, fervent supporter David Hughes purchased the majority shareholding from Virgin in a major restructuring of the club. In 2000, John Monie was appointed head coach. Monie only stayed in the job until the last month of the 2000 Super League season with the club endured a mediocre season during his tenure. Rea took over caretaker coach until the end of the season and Broncos sailed to mid-table security. Rea resigned his Chief Executive role at the end of the 2000 season to become head coach on a full-time basis.

York made an approach to Virgin to buy the London Broncos in August 2001 and form a merged club under a new name, York Wasps Ltd, to play in Super League. [88899]

In 2002, the Broncos moved back across Londonmarker to play at Griffin Parkmarker as tenants of Brentford F.C.. 2003 marked the club's first Super League play off appearance, losing in the first round to St Helens 24-6 at Knowsley Roadmarker.

The 2005 season was marked by significant activity off the pitch as the club welcomed new chairman and majority shareholder Ian Lenagan who had bought up 65% of the shares. This was followed by the announcement of a partnership with Harlequins F.C. rugby union club that would see the side return to Twickenham Stoopmarker, this time re-named as Harlequins RL for the 2006 season.

Harlequins Rugby League Club

On 8 July 2006, after a disappointing run of form for the team, the Harlequins Rugby League club announced a re-organisation of the coaching set-up. Rea was replaced as head coach by Leeds Rhinos' assistant coach Brian McDermott, but was appointed to a position on the club's board of directors. He has since left this position.

The team completed its first season as Harlequins RL with 7th place in Super League XI. Although finishing strongly to avoid relegation, the run of 4 consecutive home defeats at the start of the season proved difficult to overcome. Super League XII in 2007 saw the team finishing 9th falling short of contention for a playoff spot.

In December 2007, Chairman Ian Lenagan became owner of his home town club Wigan Warriors. Although handing over to a new Chairman Keith Hogg, Ian Lenagan will be allowed to maintain a major shareholding for a further two years.

Previous kits

The different incarnations of the club have each worn different playing kits. The original Fulham team wore an all black kit with a broad white chevron, trimmed with red, on the shirt which was unaltered during that club's existence. As London Crusaders, the kit used the same colours again, but in a variety of designs over the seasons. London Broncos wore red, yellow and blue also in a variety of styles, with red being the predominant colour for the last 5 years of their existence.


Coaching Staff

2010 Squad

2009 Signings/Transfers

No Nat Name Position Previous Club
1 Chris Melling Full Back Wigan Warriors
2 Jon Wells Wing Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
3 Tony Clubb Centre Greenwich Admirals
4 David Howell Centre Canberra Raiders
5 Will Sharp Wing Harlequins RL
6 Luke Dorn Stand Off Castleford Tigers
7 Danny Orr Scrum Half Wigan Warriors
8 Karl Temata Prop New Zealand Warriors
9 Chad Randall Hooker Manly Sea Eagles
10 Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook Prop Harlequins RL
11 Luke Williamson Second Row Manly Sea Eagles
12 Chad Robinson Second Row Parramatta Eels
13 Rob Purdham Loose-forward Whitehaven RLFC
14 Oliver Wilkes Second Row Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
15 Ben Kaye Hooker Leeds Rhinos
16 Matt James Prop Bradford Bulls
17 Danny Ward Prop Hull KR
18 Joe Mbu Second Row Doncaster Lakers
19 Jason Golden Loose-forward Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
20 Ben Jones-Bishop Full Back Leeds Rhinos
21 Luke Gale Scrum Half Doncaster RLFC
22 Andy Ellis Hooker Barrow Raiders
23 Ryan Esders Second Row Hull KR
24 Luke May Centre Harlequins RL
25 Dave Williams Prop Harlequins RL
26 Lamont Bryan Centre Harlequins RL
27 Jamie O'Callaghan Wing Harlequins RL
28 Ben Jones Prop Leeds Rhinos
29 Adam Janowski Prop Harlequins RL
30 Tony Gigot Stand-Off Harlequins RL
Player Previous Club Years Signed Until the End of
Luke Dorn Castleford Tigers
Luke Williamson Manly Sea Eagles
Chad Robinson Parramatta Eels
Ben Kaye Leeds Rhinos
Jason Golden Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
Mick Nanyn Oldham Roughyeds
Matt Gardner Salford City Reds

Player Signed for When left
Mark McLinden Queensland Reds Oct 2008
Rikki Sheriffe Bradford Bulls Oct 2008
Scott Hill Retired Oct 2008
Julien Rinaldi UTC Oct 2008
Henry Paul Leeds Carnegie Oct 2008
David Tootill Batley Bulldogs Oct 2008
Dwayne Barker Halifax RLFC Oct 2008
Michael Worrincy Bradford Bulls Oct 2008
Joe Walsh Halifax RLFC Oct 2008

Players Earning International Caps while at Fulham / London Broncos / Harlequins

  • Lee Greenwood, for England while at London Broncos 2004 Russia, Ireland

  • Sylvain Houles, for France while at London Broncos 2001 South Africa

  • Rob Purdham, for England while at Harlequins 2006 France, Tonga x 2, Samoa

  • Paul Sykes, for England while at London Broncos 2005 France, New Zealand, for Great Britain while at Harlequins 2007 France

  • Chris Melling, for Great Britain while at Harlequins 2007 France

  • Tony Clubb, for England while at Harlequins 2008 Wales, 2009 France

Other Notable Players

See here of a list of London Broncos players.


Individual player records

Team records

See also


External links

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