3.3 min readBy Published On: April 16th, 2024Categories: Features0 Comments on Southie Spotlight: Old Gold Rugby Football Club

On any given Saturday afternoon in season, you might just find dozens of men ranging in all shapes and sizes, with grass stains on their shorts and a beer in hand at Shamrock Pub in South Boston.

That would be the Old Gold Rugby Football Club hosting their opponent for a “drink up,” where despite the score and the 80-minute battle on the field, the players all come together postgame to socialize and share a drink.

The club was founded in 1974 by a group of Boston College Alumni and has had a presence in Boston’s rugby community ever since. The talent comes from all over the world, with players spanning from places like Australia, England, South Africa and more. For the last 50 years, it’s been more than just rugby to Old Gold – It’s culture. It’s family.

“Adult sports leagues don’t typically survive this long if they don’t have a reason for people to keep coming back,” Team Captain Jimmy Donlan said. “We’ve been here for 50 years and hopefully we will be here for another 50.”

Donlan started playing rugby in college. After graduating, a few of his friends knew that he was looking for a club to join and suggested the one they were a part of – take a guess at which club that was!

It’s been six years, and he has never considered playing anywhere else. In his own words, “I’m here until my body breaks down and I can’t play anymore.”

If that doesn’t show passion, what does? What is it about the team that Donlan loves so much?

For starters, everyone was immediately welcoming and nice. After showing up to just one practice, Donlan already felt like he was one of the guys, which isn’t always the case in other sports or leagues. They all spend time with each other off the field, whether it’s volunteering or going on a holiday-themed bar crawl.

No matter what, they look out for each other and safety is a priority. New players are not allowed to do anything contact based until they’ve repeatedly gone through every step of how to make and accept a tackle correctly. These techniques are reviewed at the beginning of each season for returning players as well.

But most importantly, he has found some of his best friends on the team and encourages all who have any interest to come join, NO experience necessary!

Donlan truly believes there is a spot for everyone.

“There could be a 6’ 5”, 225-pound guy and another guy who is 5’ 8” and 160 pounds soaking wet…” Donlan said. “It really is the game that can be for absolutely anyone and we will always, happily take absolutely anyone.”

As for the formalities, don’t worry about them! There is no form you need to sign or submit before showing up to the field and trying out the game for yourself. Plus, the timing is perfect. Practice for this upcoming season just started and is held every Tuesday and Thursday from 8-10pm at Ronan Park in Dorchester.

If you decide to join the team, here are a few things you can look forward to this season…

There will be a few friendly games this spring and a tournament in Newport, Rhode Island. Typically, the summer is more of an exhibition season and players can learn other styles of the game, like 7’s.

Old Gold will also be hosting a 10’s style tournament in Acton this August. More information to come on that.

And lastly, since it is the 50th season after all, past, present and future players will be getting together to celebrate Old Gold in all its glory.

For more information and to stay up to date on all things Old Gold, check out their website and be sure to follow them on Instagram or Facebook.

Main Image via @alitousiphotos

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