A 1965 lineout
Rugby has been played in Jersey since 1879 with breaks for war and the German Occupation, but the modern era started when the club acquired the land for a permanent home near the airport in 1961. The original wooden clubhouse was built in 1964 and its approximate location was in the middle of the Jersey Bowl carpark. From the early 1970s, when tourism on the island was at its peak, Jersey attracted many of rugby's top clubs who could combine a break from their regular fixtures with a game against the JRFC.
This period culminated with a very successful centenary year in 1979, teams with international players came over to play and help celebrate this event - JPR Williams being one of the most famous. This decade left the club with an unequalled collection of plaques and memorabilia; teams coming from the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia (the beachguard connection) and Holland.
The current clubhouse was opened in September 1994 and corresponded approximately with the start of the leagues. At that stage, Jersey could no longer rely on visiting sides and had to join the league in Hampshire. The 1st XV has worked its way up and now plays in the RFU National 1 League. Travel costs are high and JRFC relies on functions and sponsorship to support this commitment.
In the summer of 2010 there were two additions to the ground facilities. The Lord Jersey Stand was built between the 1st XV pitch and the airport road and, the Pavilion with kitchen and bar was built to the east of the main club house. These provide improved amenities for the increasing number of spectators that now regularly attend matches due to the continued success of the 1st XV.
Using proceeds from a specific fund-raising raffle, floodlights were installed around the 1st team pitch in time for the start of the 2011/12 season.
A history of rugby in Jersey has been extracted from Jersey Rugby Football Club: The Story of Rugby in Jersey by Gordon Young and Keith Goddard.
In 1939 the club realised an ambition to play at the FB fields.
From The Islander, a weekly news magazine
The Jersey Rugby Football Club has after five seasons realised one of its greatest ambitions — to play at the FB Playing Fields. Thanks are due to a hard working committee and many friends who have worked to this end.
The Club have from now until the end of the season some very good matches to play, starting with Thursday 16 February, versus Guernsey at the FB Fields, which is always a keen fight to the finish. Although this match is a "friendly" game in relation to the Siam Cup, it lacks none of the inter-insular spirit.
The next two matches for the Siam Cup and against the Royal Irish Fusiliers will be played in Guernsey during March, but the exact dates have not yet been fixed. Last year, the Siam Cup match was played in Jersey and was witnessed by His Excellency, the Lieut-Governor and a huge crowd. The club was successful in beating Guernsey 3 points to nil, after a very close game.
As is to be expected in an Island, players come and go last summer proved a bad one for the club, as it has lost four of its keenest members, Hanson, captain and secretary, who could always be relied upon to give a finish to all his sparking movements; Challis, another outstanding player who knew the game well; Carr, the sprinter, who scored the only try in the Siam Cup game last year; and Alain, a very useful all-round player.
As against this loss, the club has gained Giles and Austin, two very experienced players from Guernsey, now resident In Jersey, and Budden, who has returned from England.
Jersey have a very strong pack and if it is a forwards' day, the team should do well. The halves are a surprise packet, as new halves always are; one thing I hope is that they will not starve their three-quarters. Individually, the "threes" are good, but being for the most part newcomers to the game, they have not yet learned the value of running straight and passing when threatened; if, during the practice games at First Tower Park they learn to play as a team, Jersey should prove a very useful side.
A 19c rugby team photographed by Ernest Baudoux
In 1979 the club celebrated its centenary with a match against the Rugby Football Union's president's XV, which included a number of international stars