Who we are, what we do, and why we’re here…
North Jersey Rugby Football Club (NJRFC) is a Division II club in the Met Union. Team members come from all areas of Northern New Jersey, such as Bergen County, Essex County, Morris County, Passaic County, Somerset County, Union County and Warren County.
NJRFC’s roots come from a 1995 merger between the Bergen Bruisers and OMEX Shepards. Team members consist of men of all ages with various experience and ability levels. During the season, we play two games (an A-team and a B-team) every week. Our team “philosophy” is to work hard, play well, and HAVE FUN! NOJO has a commitment to excellence and plans on building on our current success as we make a run for the Championship this coming Fall.
Bergen Bruisers Rugby Club History
By Carl Galarce
The Bergen Bruisers Rugby Club was formed in 1978 by brothers Chris and Mike Carey. The first team meeting was held in the Allendale Bar & Grill. The team colors were black and blue. Bergen played its first match in the Spring of 1978 against White Plains C side. It had twelve players at the match and had to draft 3 spectators to round out the side. Bergen played in Division 2 of the Metropolitan Rugby Union. Its home pitch was in Overpeck Park in Leonia, NJ. Bergen had its ups and downs as a team. Perhaps its most notable moment was winning t
he Savannah Rugby Tournament in 1991 defeating current super league team Life in the process. In June 1995 at a team meeting held at the Dutch House Tavern in Fair Lawn, NJ the team voted to merge with OMEX Shepards, a team they had competed against for many years, to form North Jersey Rugby. The members of Bergen still tour on occasion and play charity matches.
In August 1995 North Jersey Rugby played together for the first time taking second in the Jersey Shore Tournament. It then defeated Long Island RFC in a Met Union challenge match and was placed in Division 2 of the Metropolitan Rugby Union. The initial team was coached by Tom Faranda a former OMEX player who was active in helping to coach the Met Union Select Sides. Team members came from a diverse backgrounds and colleges. Included in that group was the famous Senegal international Silima Diarra a/k/a Sillyman. Since that date the team has competed each Spring and Fall winning the Jersey Shore Tournament and Jersey Cup numerous times.
The Newark Shepards / OMEX History
By Dennis Knox
The Newark Shepards were a men’s club formed in 1983 by close friends that had graduated from their respective colleges and banded together instead of get split up into the larger D1 clubs in the area.
The Glassboro State Rugby Club, Seton Hall Rugby Club and U of Buffalo alumni contributed to this talented and large bunch of still green ( in rugby standards) RFC.
They had All American linebackers and wrestlers on this club and for many years punished other clubs physically and could give any club a run for their money although without a coach or any finesse it was an up and down seven year run. No one looked forward to playing us and we placed quite a few players on select sides and toured strongly many times.
Omex 7’s (nicknamed Jerry’s Kids at the time) was a mix of Old OMEX stalwarts and Newark Shepards who merged in to form one of the country’s best 7 a side squads for years. The OMEX 7’s side finished 10th in the country and then 3rd in the country the following year. They went on to win the international tournament in the Bahamas five straight years (known as the Johnnie Walker 7’s). A winning percentage of over 95% was a claim to fame and the tight bunch traveled far and near including Harvard 7’s, Miami 7’s, Hibernian 7’s Rockaway 7’s, New York 7’s, Cape Fear 7’s champions and emerged as the number one seed for the ERU in 1992 when we finished third in the country.
Sevens hooker Vinnie Brunetti made an appearance for the US Eagles at the Punte Del Este 7’s tournament in Uruguay which faced every major rugby nation including sevens world champs Fiji and New Zealand.
If you have any interest in playing rugby with NJRFC, we welcome veterans and beginners alike. Directions to our game field and practice fields are listed on this site. Also, feel free to contact us, we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.