Gibraltar Rugby Football Union (GRFU) was established immediately after World War 2. After the repatriation of displaced Gibraltarians, locals who had learnt to play rugby either at English Schools or whilst being in the forces started to play the resident teams from the Army, Navy and RAF on a pitch in neighbouring Spain (given the lack of grass pitches in Gibraltar). Initially it would be fair to say that the military sides were dominant but by the 60’s the Latin flair, which became a trademark of Gibraltar’s style of rugby became evident and the GRFC started to dominate. A local league consisting of GRFC, Army, Navy and RAF was set up in the mid 60’s, which added a more structured and competitive framework within which to play.
The closure of the land frontier between Gibraltar and Spain in 1968 saw local rugby diminish in popularity but fortunately tag rugby ensured that it did not entirely disappear. In 1985 the land frontier re-opened and with it the local league once again became an important part of Gibraltar’s weekly sporting calendar with games being played in Andalucia on grass pitches mostly located within 15 minutes of Gibraltar.
GRFC prospered within the local league and since 1985 with the exception of 3 years when the Duke of Wellington Regiment were posted to Gibraltar the GRFC won the league year after year. Games against Andalucia sides during the 1980’s were played on a friendly basis primarily against sides from Seville and Madrid.
The reduction in Military personnel in 1991/1992 and the increasing number of fixtures within Andalucia throughout 1992/1993 season saw the GRFC play teams in Andalucia. Since those years of instability Gibraltar was able to work hard within the youth categories and is now proud to boast players of all ages in ever growing numbers. Gibraltar is now able to proudly boast its own league with four local nationalitys and pitch.
Gibraltar Rugby has a bright and wonderful future and looks forward to its inclusion in the international community, through its membership of Rugby Europe, which it hopes to gain membership of very shortly.