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Starting at this year’s Steinlager Awards, the prestigious Rugby Volunteer of the Year Award will be known as the Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year Award.
Monro is recognised as the man who brought the game of rugby to New Zealand having observed and played the game while studying at Christ’s College, Finchley, in London. On his return to New Zealand he organised the first game of rugby in May 1870 between the Nelson Football Club and Nelson College and later organised the first inter-district game of rugby when a group from Nelson Football Club played a Wellington selection at Petone in September that year.

The Rugby Volunteer of the Year Award is one of the most valued and important presented at the Steinlager Awards and its status is underlined by the fact that it has, in recent years, always been presented by the New Zealand Rugby Union Chairman or President.

NZRU Chairman Jock Hobbs said: “The association with Charles Monro who, through his voluntary efforts established rugby in New Zealand and helped it prosper and grow through his enthusiasm and commitment, is entirely appropriate and positive.”

NZRU Past President and Steinlager Rugby Awards judging panellist Andy Leslie said he was delighted with the re-naming of the award in Monro’s honour.

“The judging panel thought this was a great connection and adds to the prestige and value of this award which, even in the company of the other categories, stands out as one which recognises all of the outstanding people who contribute voluntarily to rugby in New Zealand.”

We have to build a rugby culture, and present America with a skeleton of a rugby league. And its going to have its own American style and quirks. Starting small, one team in one market, will foster this culture in essentially a Petri dish, a microcosm of what the sport is and could be here. Building from the ground up will lay down deep roots. One successful professional team, and one that sticks around, will do more for American rugby than a dozen who come and go with the seasons. It has the potential to create a network from which USA Rugby can cement high school, college, and developmental systems, and it has the ability to promote American rugby on the international stage. A successful team in America can also lay the foundations for a second, a third, and perhaps in the future our own professional league. Maybe not tomorrow, but over time, which is where the league will draw its strength from regardless.

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