Scorpions RFC

Last updated
Scorpions RFC.png
Unions Rugby Football Union of East Africa
Kenya Rugby Football Union
Tanzania Rugby Football Union
Uganda Rugby Football Union
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Team kit
First match
Nondescripts RFC - Scorpions

The Scorpions RFC is an invitation rugby team in East Africa that was established upon principles that have many parallels with the Barbarian F.C. in terms of values, playing style, selection policy and the lack of a home ground. The team wears black shirts and white shorts and, like the original Barbarians and the French Barbarians, players wear socks of their choice provided that they have played for the team that the socks represent (the socks shown to the right are the original Harlequins socks which were also worn by Kenya Harlequins [1] in the 1950s and 1960s).



The club was founded in 1959 in Dodoma, central Tanganyika (now Tanzania) to function as an invitation touring side. The idea was first put forward by W.K.L. Ken Thomas who also became the club's first captain and chairman. With marginal rainfall, rocky outcrops, thorny scrub and dry sandy soil, Dodoma is an ideal habitat for the scorpions after which the club is named, but a less suitable place to play rugby is hard to imagine. The touring element drifted almost immediately into obscurity and the club eventually became based in Kenya as rugby in Tanzania dwindled during the 1970s.

Aims and Principles

The over-riding principle behind the team is to play and foster the playing of rugby football of the best possible type and to insist upon the highest standards of discipline and behaviour, both on and off the field. In the modern day when winning is everything this sounds old-fashioned, even pompous, it does not mean the Scorpions do not like to win, or do not play to win, it purely means that if at no-side enjoyment has been had by all, players and spectators alike, then the Scorpions have been true to their principles.

to play and foster the playing of rugby football of the best possible type and to insist upon the highest standards of discipline and behaviour, both on and off the field.

Scorpions Constitution (1959)'

The vast distances and primitive transport networks of Colonial East Africa made the playing of rugby difficult, particularly so in Tanganyika. The intention behind the founding of the Scorpions was to allow players in Tanganyika to play high quality rugby that would otherwise be unavailable to them, thus membership (which is by invitation only), would be available to any player in Tanganyika. With time the net was thrown wider to include any player in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania). The Scorpions are able to introduce younger players to a higher level of rugby and to experiment by trying players in unusual positions, something that representative selectors are unable to attempt for fear of criticism.

The club has no club-house, they usually play their matches at the RFUEA Ground and, in order to stimulate interest in rugby to as wide an audience as possible, they never take a gate allowing spectators from all financial backgrounds to watch them play.

Match List

The Scorpions have built up a sporting tradition of exciting encounters with famous clubs on tour. The majority of these games have been lost but the Scorpions have endeavoured to live up to their principles and have scored notable victories over Anti-Assassins (1964) and London Wasps (1973) and also earned a draw with Blackheath F.C. in 1979.

Blackrock College RFC is a club originally formed by old-boys of Blackrock College, an institution founded by the Congregation of the Holy Ghost in 1860. In 1939, the same order set up St. Mary's School, Nairobi to be run under the same Spiritian ethos, an ethos that embraces the benefits of sport in general and rugby union in particular. This has begun a long connection between the order and the East African rugby community; St. Mary's School hosts an annual schools rugby festival and (along with Lenana School, Rift Valley Academy and Strathmore School) it is one of the major producers of rugby players in Kenya. In addition, Blackrock College RFC toured East Africa in 1971 and the Fourth Tuskers played a return fixture during their tour of Ireland the next year.

When, in 1973, the Scorpions played the Old Georgian Club from Argentina, the former England captain Dick Greenwood was in Kenya on a coaching assignment for the RFU. He was selected to play in the second row by Scorpions who lost by one point after a non-stop display of running attacking rugby that ranks among the most thrilling matches ever played on the RFUEA Ground. Dick then travelled to Italy to become the Coach of Rugby Roma Olimpic (1973–1976) and, using the contacts that he had made in Kenya, an East African tour was arranged for the Italian club in 1976 during which they too played against the Scorpions.

1959-08-04 Nondescripts RFC Flag of Kenya.svg  Kenya Parklands Sports Club, Nairobi Won
1959-08-06 Kitale Rugby Club Flag of Kenya.svg  Kenya Kitale Sports Club, KitaleLost8-26
1959-08-08 Nakuru RFC Flag of Kenya.svg  Kenya Nakuru Athletic Club, Nakuru Lost3-9
1959-08-10 Kenya Harlequins Flag of Kenya.svg  Kenya RFUEA Ground, Nairobi Lost11-15
1960-10-08Kampala RFCFlag of Uganda.svg  Uganda Nakivubo Stadium, Kampala
1961-05- [2] Pretoria Harlequins Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa Nakuru
0 - 14
1964- Anti-Assassins Flag of England.svg  England RFUEA Ground, Nairobi
1966-04-24 Blackheath F.C. Flag of England.svg  England RFUEA Ground, Nairobi
1968-03-23 Queens University RFC IRFU flag.svg  Ireland RFUEA Ground, Nairobi
1968-07-14 Middlesex Flag of England.svg  England RFUEA Ground, Nairobi
0 - 47
1969- Anti-Assassins Flag of England.svg  England RFUEA Ground, Nairobi
14 - 48
1971-03-28 9 Parachute Squadron RE, British Army Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom RFUEA Ground, Nairobi
1971-07-04 Blackrock College RFC IRFU flag.svg  Ireland RFUEA Ground, Nairobi
13 - 16
1972-04- Rosslyn Park F.C. Flag of England.svg  England RFUEA Ground, Nairobi
1972-07-30 Richmond F.C. Flag of England.svg  England RFUEA Ground, Nairobi
12 - 18
1973-05-05 [3] London Harlequins FC Flag of England.svg  England RFUEA Ground, Nairobi
6 - 41
1973-07-29 Wasps FC Flag of England.svg  England RFUEA Ground, Nairobi
1973- Old Georgians Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina RFUEA Ground, Nairobi
21 - 22
1976-06-05 Rugby Roma Olimpic Flag of Italy.svg  Italy RFUEA Ground, Nairobi
1979-05-12 Blackheath F.C. Flag of England.svg  England RFUEA Ground, Nairobi
17 - 17
1982-05-22 Anti-Assassins Flag of England.svg  England RFUEA Ground, Nairobi
1988-08 Sherborne RFC / RC Granvillais Flag of England.svg  England / Flag of France.svg  France RFUEA Ground, Nairobi

Match details

Blackheath 1979

Saturday 12 May 1979
1630 EAT (UTC+3)
Scorpions RFC17 17 Blackheath F.C.
Try: Hadman (1)
Omaido (1)
Evans, M. (1)
Con: Roy (1)
Pen: None
Drop: Roy (1)
Purchase (1)
Con: None
Pen: Kelsey-Fry (3)
Drop: None
Ngong Road Ground, Nairobi, Kenya
Referee: G. Fenn (London R.R.S.)

Touch-judge: R.G.R. Evans (Kenya R.R.S.)

Touch-judge: P. Piper


Past Administrators

  • W.K.L. Ken Thomas (Founder member, Chairman and Captain)
  • Dennie O'Loghlen (Founder member and Chairman)
  • Charles Hodgson (Chairman)
  • Rex Chamberlain (Secretary / Treasurer)
  • Alex M Christie (Vice president of Wasps FC in London and President of the RFUEA)
  • Edwin Eddie Bristow
  • Brian Granville-Ross
  • Peter Williams
  • Frank Lawson
  • Bob Shephard
  • Tony Parfitt
  • D.P. Dougie Hamilton
  • M.J.A. Mike Walsh
  • David Round-Turner
  • Mark Riley
  • Chris Everard

Past Captains

  • Rob Rowland
  • D.P. Dougie Hamilton
  • Mike Andrews
  • Peter D. Evans
  • Roy Leask
  • Kevin Lillis

Notable players

Other Players

  • A. Cobb
  • R.T. Harris
  • M.C. Barnes
  • R. Gillett
  • J. McFie
  • C.J. Maile
  • M.G. Lumsdaine
  • J. Maynard
  • R.N. Shephard
  • Oluf Jorgensen
  • J.W. Eaton
  • J. Setchell
  • R. Benyon
  • H. McGarry
  • A. Glover
  • G.T. Tom Thorpe
  • G. Clode
  • R.M. Watson
  • R. Richards
  • B.Patrick N. Plumbe
  • K.A.G. Parfitt
  • P. Ilsley
  • A.M. Dale
  • A.L. Mitchell
  • R.T. Hughes
  • George Barbour
  • Lau Larsen
  • R. Jones
  • Ronnie Andrews
  • Mike Evans
  • J.C.D. Parsons
  • A. Rees
  • A. Cure
  • Richard Mercer
  • George McKnight
  • M. Herbert
  • Dicky Evans
  • R. Smith
  • J.A. Allison
  • B. Omolo
  • Jackson Omaido
  • A. Scutt
  • S.L. Rigby
  • George Roy
  • Dave Wallace
  • J. Ellis
  • Chris J. Onsotti
  • Mark A. Riley
  • W.J. Okwirry
  • Mike Evans
  • C.G. Sullivan
  • G. Chief Edebe
  • W.G. Hadman
  • C.J.S Taylor
  • E. Ayodo
  • D. Awimbo
  • C. Fraser
  • Tom Ollerhead
  • J. Omany
  • P. Coventry
  • R.S. Sembi
  • J.P. Scott

P.E L'Estrange


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  1. Kenya Harlequin Constitution. Kenya Harlequins. 1950.
  2. Whyte, R.A.M. (1961). Harlequins in East Africa (Report). Harlequins F.C.
  3. Roberts, V.C. (1973). Harlequins East Africa Tour (Report). Harlequins F.C.