London French was formed on October 21st 1959 when a group of older stagiaires from the French LycÃ©e in London decided that the unadventurous style of English rugby was not to their liking. The first match played by them was on Sunday 23rd November 1959 against Old Reigatians, a Dorking based side.
For about 4-5 years the club played Sunday Rugby only as we were not recognised as a 'mainstream' club. It also meant we fell in line with the normal timing for Rugby in France. Many of the members also played for English clubs on a Saturday as well.
However, the style of play that we espoused attracted a very large fixture list, coupled with our focus on the social aspects of the game, which is our hallmark to this day.
In 1964 we changed to playing our fixtures on a Saturday and moved grounds from our rather nomadic existence to Raynes Park. With the ever increasing popularity of the game the club struggled in the early seventies to find a regular French XV to play in the serious cup competitions and in 1972 we became an open club attracting players from all nationalities. At this time we also joined the Middlesex County RFU and moved to Belsize Park for over 10 years.
Our rules were simple: you played 3 times for the club and then were invited to join, on the assumption that you met all the requirements of enjoying the game and the third half in equal measure.
Whilst no silverware was put in the cupboard, appearances in the semi-finals of the Middlesex Cup and Middlesex 7's preliminaries were testament to the quality of the club's playing abilities. Because of our open style of play we always had a mid-season slump when the grounds became heavy and the weather deteriorated. Club members always like the sun on their backs, especially when skiing.
By 1979 we were running 3 teams and an occasional Vets side together with a Sunday side called the SuperCoqs.
In 1980 we moved back to Raynes Park and re-established links with The French LycÃ©e and used their grounds at The King George Memorial Playing Fields.
The club has never had a clubhouse preferring the use of quality restaurants and pubs to enhance the fun atmosphere of our social activities.
About 1982 we also started to tour on a much wider base than the UK and France with a tour to Switzerland and Netherlands, followed by Italy and Spain, all in 2 years! Our aim in this respect has always been to be ambassadors for the social aspects of Rugby. Since that time games against the National sides of Switzerland, Romania (B), Israel, Latvia, Estonia, Czechoslovakia, Gibraltar, Malta and Holland have enhanced our reputation as a serious social tourist club.
In 1987 we joined the newly formed UK league Rugby system in Middlesex 5. In 3 consecutive seasons we rose to Middlesex 2 and following league restructuring, we now play in Hertfordshire & Middlesex 3 south.
In 1993 we moved to our current ground at Barnes in South West London where we have two pitches.
At its height in the early nineties the club could boast 5 regular sides, a Vets team and the Sunday SuperCoqs. However, as a direct result of the pedantic registration for overseas players and the gradual decline in the number of players in the English game, we now run two regular sides plus an occasional third. Our Sunday side meanwhile has amalgamated with another team to form the Entertainers RFC, affiliated to the Surrey County RFU.
Today we still espouse the French traditions of open stylish rugby that likes to take risks and still experience the mid-season dip, despite having the best draining pitch in London! Our social ethos is paramount and we constantly strive to ensure we are a social club that plays Rugby as opposed to the opposite. Recent tours include:
1997 - Israel
2009 - Croatia
2010 - Biarritz
We continue to espouse the good name of French style coupled with British and Antipodean drinking habits!
The London French still count amongst their members Old Farts who since 1960 have contributed to our 41 years of History. Work is currently performed to set up a listing of all LFRFC former players.
Key contact if you have information to communicate regarding that matter : Antoine Lurot