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On the 30th May 1868 The Nelson Football Club, which was to become the Nelson Rugby Football Club, was formed. This was the first Rugby Football Club in New Zealand.

Robert Collings Tennent was responsible for the formation of the Club. Tennent was born in England and immigrated to New Zealand with his widowed mother to settle in Nelson in 1865. Nineteen year old Tennent loved sports and encouraged other young Nelson men to join with him to form the club. The Nelson Football Club was established to offer young men the chance to take part in healthy sport. Tennent was committed to the game, and remained so until his death in Nelson on April 14 1939.

The game first played by the Nelson Club was a hybrid one: a mixture of association football and Melbourne rules. This type of game was played for the next two years. In January 1870, Charles John Monro introduced the game of rugby to Nelson. On Saturday 14 May 1870 the first proper game of rugby played in New Zealand took place at the Botanics in Nelson. The rugby game featured the Nelson Rugby Club against Nelson College, with 18 players a side. After an exciting match, the Nelson Rugby Club came away with a 2-0 win.

The Grounds

The Nelson Rugby Football Club has been associated with three historical grounds in the city. Trafalgar Park Trafalgar Park, the headquarters of... See more »

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History - 1860's

On May 30, 1868 the Nelson Football Club was formed. This society which was to become the first Rugby Football... See more »

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History - 1870's

On the 12 May 1870, at the instigation of Charles Monro, they formally adopted the 1868 rules of Rugby and... See more »

1889 Team

History - 1880's

1883 The second 1883 match finished sensationally. Returning the 1881 visit, a Whanganui XV (Whanganui and Upokongaro clubs combined) meet the... See more »

1893 Team

History - 1890's

The 1892 Season The expected event took place in the Club Hotel, Wellington, on April 16, when the New Zealand Union... See more »

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History - 1910's

The 1914 Season The annual general meeting was poorly attended. Mr E.S. Cresswell was elected president, with R. Gilbert as Club... See more »

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Seddon Shield 1906

*The Seddon Shield* came into being in 1906, when the Marlborough, West Coast, Buller and Nelson Rugby Unions purchased this... See more »

Scrum Wanderers

History - 1920's

This was a notable year, with an excellent annual meeting, teams entered in all grades in the Union’s competitions, senior,... See more »

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Club All Blacks

There have been three All Blacks from the Nelson Rugby Football Club. *All Black Bill Smith* Represented New Zealand at Dunedin against... See more »

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Recent history

•1970 – Nelson Rugby Club amalgamated with the Golden Bay- Motueka Union to form Nelson Bays Rugby Union •2005 – Nelson... See more »