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1987 - SRFC_Pill - Post Match - Bk- Jimmy S, _, Andy H, Stacey, _,_,_,_,_, Jesse J, Fred,

Newport, South Wales

Pill Harriers RFC

Pill Harriers RFC are a Welsh Rugby Union club based in Newport, South Wales. In the 2014/15 season the club is playing in the Division 2 East league and is a feeder club for the Newport Gwent Dragons.

 

Pill Harriers first traveled to Springfield in 1985 when SRFC won the game 3-0. This tour was so successful they returned again in 1987, and again SRFC won the match, 18-12. Since then Pill have returned to Springfield in 2007 and 2012 for full XV's matches and in 2009 the club sent a 7's side for the first Summer 7's Tournament in Springfield. On the UK tour of 1994 Springfield RFC played and lost against Pill after playing Strathendrick RFC in Scotland and Rumney RFC also in South Wales.

 

While the team was in Wales it was treated to a civic reception by the mayor of Newport where the town and club exchanged their respective plaques. During their time in Cardiff and Newport the Springfield side toured the historic Cardiff Castle.

A Brief History of the Link Between Our Clubs

Springfield RFC and The Pill Harriers

The year was 1964 and an Esher, Surrey, man named Gerard Seymour was serving as the British Consulate to the United States in Kansas City, Missouri.  Raised deep from the roots of rugby (having even played the game with the Queen of England’s husband Prince Philip), Gerard decided to plant the game in fresh Missouri mud.  Hence, rugby broke new ground in Kansas City “in the Year of Our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Sixty Four”.  That same year, rugby took sprout at Kansas University.  It wasn’t long before the European game of rugby flourished across the great Midwest.

In the early 1970’s, the St. Louis Falcons were one of the premiere sides in the Midwest.  Undefeated for two years, the Falcons met their match in the final round of a Boston Tournament when they were beaten 36 - 3 by the Cross Keys Rugby Club from Wales.  After the match, the Falcons approached Cross Key’s Coach Ramsey Carter of Newport about coaching the Falcons.  Having ended up in Missouri, Ramsey eventually met and befriended Gerard Seymour.

Meanwhile (on the other side of the pitch), a Kansas City Rugger named John Hines introduced David “Scoop” Thornton of K.C. to the game.  While Scoop remained stateside (honing his own skills at the game), John traveled to Wales where he played for the Newport Hibernians.  During his travels, John stayed with the Hibernian’s new coach Ramsey Carter.

In 1977, Hines and Scoop (now a seasoned veteran) toured England as part of the Heart of America Rep side: a select side from the Heart of America Conference which drew All-Star talent from cities such as KC, Des Moines, Wichita and Little Rock.

A truly unique opportunity for budding Midwest Rugby, the Heart Rep side toured England alongside the Eagles in what would be their first Overseas Tour since 1924.  During this tour, each club took turns having a go; the Heart played Litchfield one day, then the Eagles played a top level club the next day and so on; both clubs representing high-quality rugby at the Regional and National level.  During that same tour, Hines and Scoop (having now transferred his job from KC to Springfield) visited Ramsey in Newport.

The very next year in 1978, the Newport Hibernians and Pill Labour amalgamated to form the Pill Harriers.  Five years later in 1983, Springfield Rugby Football Club (SRFC) was founded.  Thus the birth of two legends in rugby began.

In 1985, Kansas City Rugby Football Club invited SRFC to tour England and Wales.

Once in Wales, Springfield RFC met Pill RFC for the first time.  But is wasn’t until the Pill Harriers made a USA tour of their own where the “bar the door” bond that still holds true today was solidified.   During that USA tour, the Pill Harriers were originally scheduled to play the KC Blues.  However, members of both Springfield and the Pill coerced the Representative of USA Rugby, Gerard Seymour, (via relationships established over the years) to rearrange the match between the Blues & Pill to a match between Pill & Springfield.  It was that fateful match were Springfield came out ahead in two ways:

1) Springfield would be the only team to defeat and Pill during the tour; and

2) Springfield would forge a unique and lasting bond with the boys of Pill Harrier.

In fact, in an interesting twist of fate (during the Rebels tour of 1989) roughly ten Pill Harriers combined with Springfield to defeat the Heart Rep Side.  Truly these two teams had become mates both on and off the pitch.  Since that time, the association between the Pill and Springfield has produced a wide variety of experiences and a novel’s worth of stories.  From the Springfield-to-Wales Tour of 1994 to the Pill-to-Springfield Golf Tournament of 1997, the relationship between these two teams has flourished.

During our time together, over 40 players and alumni of Springfield RFC have traveled as diplomats into the tight binds of the Pill.

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