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Harlequins – Rugby Union Club Team

Dramatic sunset clouds over an empty stadium with the lights on.

Rugby fans often wonder about the teams that have shaped the sport. Harlequins is one of England’s oldest and most prestigious rugby union clubs, established back in 1866. This article dives into their colourful history, highlights key players, and uncovers how they engage with the community, helping you connect with a club rich in tradition and spirit.

Discover the legacy of ‘Quins’ – let’s kick off!

Key Takeaways

  • Harlequins Rugby Club was established in 1866, making it one of England’s most historic rugby teams.
  • The club plays home matches at The Stoop stadium, which has a capacity of 14,800 and is located in Twickenham, London.
  • Harlequins have won several major honours including the English Premiership title and European Rugby Challenge Cup victories.
  • Notable players from the club include British and Irish Lions tourists Will Greenwood, Jason Leonard, and Ugo Monye as well as Rugby World Cup representatives like Chris Robshaw and Mike Brown.
  • Through its foundation and youth development programs, Harlequins strongly invests in community involvement with a focus on education, wellbeing, inclusion and nurturing young talent.

Club History

The Harlequins rugby union club team was formed in 1866 and has a rich history in English rugby. The club has had success in both league and professional eras, making them a prominent force in the Premiership Rugby.

Formation and early years

Harlequins Rugby Club sprang to life in 1866, birthed as Hampstead Football Club. Quickly outgrowing its initial moniker and local patch, the club adopted the Harlequin name in 1870 to reflect a more vibrant and expansive identity.

They donned their distinctive multicolored jerseys, signaling a new chapter for this ambitious squad.

Early members laid down strong foundations with a commitment to innovative play that became synonymous with the club’s reputation. Founding fathers included formidable talents like Adrian Stoop, whose pioneering strategies carved a path for future generations.

As one of the original member clubs of the Rugby Football Union, Harlequins were instrumental in shaping English rugby from its infancy, setting standards on and off the pitch that would influence rugby union’s development across England for years to come.

Acquisition of The Stoop

The Stoop, the iconic rugby stadium that has been crucial to Harlequins’ history, was acquired by the club in 1963. This acquisition solidified their presence in Twickenham and provided a permanent home ground for the team.

The Stoop has since become synonymous with thrilling matches and passionate support from loyal fans.

Notably, The Stoop has witnessed numerous historic moments, including unforgettable victories and remarkable performances by Harlequins players. The acquisition of this stadium stands as a pivotal moment in the club’s journey, shaping its legacy as a powerhouse in English rugby union.

League rugby and the professional era

After the acquisition of The Stoop, Harlequins entered into a new era of league rugby and professional competition. The club has been a prominent figure in English rugby since its inception, and this period saw the team’s transition into a professional outfit.

Aligning with the changing landscape of rugby, Harlequins established its place as a top-tier team in various league competitions, including the English Premiership. This era marked an evolution in training techniques and player recruitment, placing emphasis on developing homegrown talent while also attracting international stars to enhance the squad’s capabilities.

The club’s entry into professionalism brought about significant changes in playing style and tactics. As league fixtures became more competitive, Harlequins adapted by investing resources not only in honing players’ physical abilities but also in devising strategic game plans that could outwit opponents on the field.

Recent seasons

Harlequins have experienced a mix of performances in recent seasons, with highs and lows. The men’s team has shown determination, securing victories in tough matches and maintaining a competitive edge.

They continue to showcase their talent and constantly strive for excellence.

The women’s team has also displayed resilience, demonstrating consistent improvement and an unwavering commitment to success. Both the men’s and women’s teams at Harlequins are dedicated to honing their skills and proving themselves as formidable opponents on the rugby field.

The John Kingston Era (2016-2018)

The John Kingston era marked a transitional phase for the Harlequins Rugby Club. Under his leadership, the team focused on nurturing young talent from the academy, aiming to build a formidable roster of skilled players.

The club’s emphasis on developing homegrown talent led to an infusion of promising rugby players from their academy team into the senior squad, bringing fresh energy and potential to the competitive fixtures.

Kingston’s strategic approach also saw a shift towards promoting a dynamic playing style that resonated with both fans and opponents alike. During this period, notable performances and memorable victories showcased Harlequins’ resilience and determination in professional rugby fixtures.

Additionally, Kingston’s tenure laid the groundwork for continued success in subsequent seasons as it set the stage for future accomplishments by refining and shaping emerging talents within the club’s ranks.

Stadium and Facilities

The Stoop is the home ground of Harlequins, located in Twickenham, London. It has a capacity of 14,800 and hosts all of Harlequins’ home matches. Founders Field serves as the training ground for the team and also hosts various community events.

The club also offers clubhouse and athletic field rentals for private events and functions.

The Stoop

The Stoop, officially known as Twickenham Stoop, is the home ground of Harlequins Rugby Club. The stadium has a seating capacity of 14,800 and provides an electric atmosphere during matches.

It has been the site of many memorable moments in the club’s history and continues to be a crucial part of their success.

The stadium offers state-of-the-art facilities for both players and fans. With its rich history and modern amenities, The Stoop stands as a testament to Harlequins’ commitment to providing an exceptional rugby experience for all involved.

Founders Field

Founders Field is an integral part of Harlequins’ training and development facilities. The field provides the perfect space for players to hone their skills and have intensive practice sessions.

With top-notch amenities and a well-maintained pitch, Founders Field offers a conducive environment for the team’s preparation and growth. This facility plays a vital role in nurturing talent and maintaining the club’s high standards.

The founders also envisioned it as a place where young rugby enthusiasts could learn from the best in the game. Founders Field embodies Harlequins’ commitment to cultivating future stars while upholding its rich legacy in professional rugby.

Clubhouse and Athletic Field Rentals

Harlequins offers clubhouse and athletic field rentals for various events and functions. The clubhouse provides a versatile space for private gatherings, corporate events, or team meetings.

With its rich rugby history, it’s an ideal venue to host sports-related functions or themed parties, immersing guests in the club’s heritage.

The athletic fields are available for rent, providing a perfect setting for training sessions or matches. Whether it’s a community sports event or a company team-building day, the well-maintained fields offer ample space for various activities.

Community Involvement and Support

The Harlequins are deeply involved in their community with the Harlequins Foundation and youth development programs. They also offer opportunities for alumni and sponsorship to support the club’s mission.

Harlequins Foundation

The Harlequins Foundation is an essential aspect of the club’s community efforts, aiming to make a positive impact through sport. The foundation focuses on four key areas: education, employability, wellbeing, and inclusion.

By collaborating with schools and community organisations, it provides valuable resources and support for young people in London and its surrounding areas. Through rugby-related programmes and initiatives, the foundation promotes physical activity, teamwork, and social development among the youth while also contributing to improving overall health and well-being.

Moreover, the Harlequins Foundation actively works towards creating inclusive opportunities for all individuals regardless of background or ability level. By fostering a supportive environment that values diversity, the foundation aims to create lasting change within local communities.

Youth Development

The Harlequins Rugby Club is committed to nurturing young talent through its youth development programmes. The club provides opportunities for aspiring players to develop their skills and passion for rugby, emphasising the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship, and personal growth.

Through coaching clinics, training camps, and academy teams, the Harlequins inspire and support the next generation of rugby stars.

Youth development is a core aspect of the club’s mission, with a focus on creating pathways for talented individuals to progress within the sport. By providing access to top-notch facilities and experienced coaches, the Harlequins actively contribute to shaping the future of rugby while upholding their historic legacy in promoting excellence on and off the field.

Alumni and Sponsorship Opportunities

Explore a range of exciting alumni and sponsorship opportunities with Harlequins Rugby Club, enabling you to connect and support the club’s rich legacy. Engage with former players, coaches, and staff through exclusive events, networking opportunities, and mentoring programs.

Sponsorship packages offer unique branding visibility across the club’s platform, including matchday exposure at The Stoop and in digital marketing campaigns.

Unlock access to iconic players from Harlequins’ history while aligning your brand with the club’s esteemed tradition. Whether you’re seeking to partner for community initiatives or elevate your company’s profile alongside one of rugby’s most historic clubs, there are numerous ways to get involved as an alumnus or sponsor.

Notable Players and Achievements

The Harlequins have produced numerous notable players, including Lions tourists and Rugby World Cup representatives, and have achieved major honours in the world of professional rugby.

Read more to learn about their incredible history and impact on the sport.

Lions Tourists

  • Will Greenwood: A talented centre who represented the Lions on three tours, including in Australia and New Zealand. He played a key role in the Lions’ triumphs during those tours.
  • Jason Leonard: An iconic figure in rugby, Leonard toured with the Lions on three occasions and was renowned for his prowess as a prop forward. His exceptional performances earned him recognition as one of England’s greatest players.
  • Ugo Monye: Known for his speed and agility, Monye made a memorable impact during the Lions tour to South Africa. He showcased his try-scoring abilities and was an integral part of the team’s success.

Rugby World Cup Representatives

Harlequins has had numerous players represent their respective countries at the Rugby World Cup.

  1. Chris Robshaw, the former Harlequins captain, represented England in multiple Rugby World Cup tournaments, showcasing exceptional leadership and performance on the international stage.
  2. Mike Brown, another influential figure at Harlequins, brought his fiery determination and skill to the English national team in multiple Rugby World Cups, leaving a lasting impact with his electrifying play.
  3. Jamie Roberts, known for his powerful presence and skillful play at Harlequins, represented Wales in the Rugby World Cup, contributing to their success with his unwavering commitment and versatility.
  4. Joe Marler, a dynamic prop forward for both Harlequins and England’s national team, displayed grit and resilience at the Rugby World Cup, delivering solid performances on the biggest stage of international rugby.
  5. Nick Easter, an illustrious figure in Harlequins’ history, showcased his experience and expertise at the Rugby World Cup while representing England with his astute game management and relentless work ethic.
  6. Kyle Sinckler, a formidable presence in the front row for both Harlequins and England’s national team, made a significant impact at the Rugby World Cup through his tenacious style of play and formidable scrummaging abilities.

Major Honours

Harlequins have an impressive list of major honours that demonstrate their prowess in the world of rugby:

  1. English Premiership Titles: The club has clinched the prestigious English Premiership title, showcasing their dominance in domestic rugby.
  2. European Rugby Challenge Cup Victories: Harlequins have also secured victories in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, highlighting their success on the continental stage.
  3. Legendary Players: The club has produced iconic players who have left a lasting impact on the sport, cementing Harlequins’ legacy in rugby history.
  4. Rich Historic Legacy: With a legacy dating back to 1866 and a founding membership in the Rugby Football Union, Harlequins boast a rich and storied tradition within the sport.
  5. Continued Innovation: Throughout its history, Harlequins have been known for producing and attracting innovative players, contributing to the evolution of rugby union.


In conclusion, Harlequins Rugby Club has a rich and historic legacy in the world of rugby. The team’s official colors are quartered, featuring multi-colored jerseys. Notable players associated with the club include Ronnie Poulton-Palmer, Adrian Stoop, and William Wavell Wakefield.

With its history, community involvement, and notable achievements, Harlequins continues to be a revered presence in professional rugby. The Twickenham-based club plays their home matches at Twickenham Stoop and is known for producing innovative players who have represented the team at elite levels such as Lions Tourists or Rugby World Cup Representatives.


1. Who are the Harlequins?

The Harlequins are a professional rugby club team that plays in Rugby Union competitions.

2. Can I watch the Harlequins play live games?

Sure! Fans can grab tickets to see the Harlequins compete in thrilling matches at their home ground or away fixtures.

3. Do the Harlequins have a junior team for young players?

Yes, the Harlequins nurture young talent with junior teams so aspiring players can develop their rugby skills and possibly join the senior ranks one day.

4. How often do the Harlequins train for matches?

Harlequin players follow a strict training schedule to stay fit and work on their game strategy, often training multiple times per week.

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