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A Bit of Hawaii Harlequins' History

Although there is evidence of sporadic games in Hawaii as early as 1884, Hawaii rugby was really established in 1964, when Dr. Jack Keenan (an Irish ex-pat) and two buddies, Bob Hampton and Brian O'Neil, created the Hawaii Harlequins Rugby Football Club.

Games were mostly limited to playing visiting naval ships, although as time passed, word spread that there was rugby in Hawaii, mainly thanks to these gentlemen and subsequent club presidents such as Dixon Smith & Ralph Martinson. So followed many visiting teams, using any excuse to visit Hawaii for a tour.

In 1975 the Harlequins toured Australia, & New Zealand. This obviously helped with public relations, and as a result the following year saw a record 77 touring side games in Hawaii, in addition to league matches.

The early 80's were again touring years for the Hawaii Harlequins, and the 1983 Pan-Am tour of Australia & New Zealand provided wins against a number of teams including Sydney teams, Manly, Auckland Grammar, and Gisborne. By 1989 the Harlequins had shown their strength, by sending their A and B sides to the finals.

By the 90's they had solidified their success during the Monterey Tournament, by beating OMBAC (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club), regarded by many as America's Team. Also, 1999 showed a good result by the Harlequins beating the U.S. Marine team 76-3.

The Harlequins held successful tournaments in 2008, 2009, 2013, and 2014. In 2012 the Harlequins hosted the vintage Rugby Carnival with over 1,500 participants at Kapiolani Park, Waikiki, on 5 rugby fields. In most recent years the Harlequins toured Alaska in 2017 and 2018 to compete in the Alaska Midnight Sun 7s. The Men squad won the Hawaii State Championship back to back 2013 and 2014, went to the final in 2015 and semifinals in 2018 after finishing the regular season ranked Nº2. The Women squad won the 2015 Hawaii State Championship in 15s as well as 7s and competed in the televised Women’s Club 7s National Championship 2015 in Iowa.

The Harlequins are more competitive than ever. We are eager to remain on top of the Hawaii rugby with the goal to becoming a competitive club nationally and internationally!

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