About The SABRFC
What you read here is a summary based on documents and stories from a few of the many people who have worn the Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue jersey through the years. If you have anything to add or correct, we'd love to hear from you. Send your stories or photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue has a long, storied, and illustrious history. What you'll find below is an attempt to bring it all together. This page contains a very short summary of our history, and we will look to add to it as time goes by.
The Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Rugby Club is without a doubt the most successful Rugby club in the history of the Quebec Rugby Federation. Through the years the club has won more provincial championships than any other in the province. In addition, beyond the championships, the Club has been a place where athletes of all shapes, sizes, and abilities have found a competitive and fun environment to develop themselves and to learn the great game of Rugby.
The Early Years: 1964-1980
Putting a date on the first Rugby game in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue and the precise origins of the Club will always be difficult. With certainty however, we know the origins of the club to be Macdonald College.
This is where a group of students formed a Rugby team sometime around 1964. This seems like a good start date. As the years went by, the college team grew into a Club as the players graduated from Macdonald, but continued to play the game under the Macdonald College colors.
In the 1970's the Club continued to develop with leadership from Bill Tierney, and began calling itself the ''Association Sportive de Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue.'' The first set of jerseys worn by the club was the distinctive gold ''bras d'or'' kit that was donated by the Brasserie Bellevue in Ste-Anne. Through these early years the Club consisted of only one men's team. However, with the approach of the 80's, interest in the sport grew in Ste-Anne's. The game was picked up by John Abbott College and the women's game both at John Abbott and Macdonald, began to develop.
In 1981 the Club was officially incorporated as the ''Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Rugby Football Club'', becoming an autonomous and independent entity in the Quebec Rugby Union, and providing a convenient date for all future anniversary celebrations.
The early eighties were a period of explosive growth for the Club. By 1982 the Club was fielding three men's teams and one women's team. In 1981, the Club had won its first Men's first division title, the first of thirteen such titles that would see Ste-Anne's dominate the Quebec Rugby scene for the next 15 years. Much of what is now taken for granted as part of the Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue tradition was laid down in the early eighties.
The Club first played in its now trademark white jerseys in 1982, although the old yellow ''bras d'or'' kit would continue to be worn by the third team well into the latter part of the decade. A navy blue kit was also used and was worn by the lower division teams. Today, the white and the navy colors are still very prominent in their use, but by all divisions and both men's and women's teams. The yellow ''bras d'or'' kit unfortunately has long since disappeared - although one or two of these jerseys are reported to still be in existence.
In 1983 the Club moved to its new grounds at Ecole St-Georges, where it still plays to this day. In 1986, the Club took its first overseas tour with a trip to Wales, Ireland, and England. By any account, it laid the foundation for the Club's success over the next ten years. By the end of the eighties the Club was firmly established as the most dominant in Quebec. At the close of the decade the first team had won six championships and the second team four. The women's team continued to develop and captured two provincial titles in the process, but much of their success would have to wait for the coming decade.
The early part of the 90's found the Club at its most developed. Ste-Anne's was fielding four men's teams and two women's teams. Championships continued to roll in for the men's teams. In 1991, the Club became the first in Quebec to sweep all three men's cups. The second team won the title in 1993, bringing their total to six.
1994 marked the last of nine consecutive annual championships for the men's first team (1986-1994). This is a feat that will not likely be matched any time soon.
Players from overseas first started coming to play for the Club around this time as well. We remember the late Richard Tsimba, the first black player for Zimbabwe, who played in two Rugby World Cups; Tony Walker, an Australian, who played professional Rugby in France; Greg Thaggard, a Fijian Sevens player who more recently has coached the Ottawa Harlequins in the RCSL; Peter Frances, a Welsh international prop, who played for Ste-Anne's while on his honeymoon, Martin Tsimba, Richard's brother; Andy Leitch from Cowbridge Wales; and, more recently, Irish, Nathan, French Fred, Dean and others...
The departure of many verteran players in the middle part of the decade strained the men's teams through the latter part of the 90's, and by 1996 the Club was committed to rebuilding the men's program. The number of senior men's teams had shrunk to two.
The decline in fortune of the men's teams was matched however, by the rise of the women's program to provincial dominance. Through the 90's, the women's teams won six first division titles and established their own record with 5 consecutive titles from 1992-1996. The women's team would continue to develop and at the turn of the millenium they were again poised to regain provincial dominance.
The 3rd Millenium
The women's program has shone brightly as they have matched the Men's success in winning a total of 14 Provincial Cup championships including 2000-02, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
At the start of this new era for the Club, fortunes are looking up once again. With the leadership of Jean-Marie Fontaine as President, a devoted and tireless executive committee, and the ageless Stone at the centre of all activities, a flood of young, energetic members has rejuvenated the senior programs as the Club looks to (and has) recaptured some of the spirit of its earlier days.
The Club embarked on only its second overseas tour in 2001, a return visit to Ireland and Wales. On this tour however, the 50+ strong tour group included both the men's and women's sides. More recently in 2009, the Club toured Trinidad and Tobago, and once again sent a small army of delegates. The Club continues to fulfill its mandate of being a fun and competitive environment for any athlete to learn and play the great game of Rugby football.
The Club currently runs three senior Men's teams, and a senior Women's team. Lee Bieber, Mark Sibthorpe, and a host of dedicated players past and present proudly represent SABRFC in their coaching/organizing of Junior Rugby, Mini Rugby, and coaching at various levels of High School, Cegep, and University. The Junior Saints (girls and boys) have exploded onto the scene over the last few years and stand poised to make a tremendous impact on our Club once old enough, and hopefully, garner the interest of Provincial and National selector's.
The attraction of the Club is easy to see. There are now traditions like the Club's formal Awards banquet which attracts well over 150 people every year; there are events like the Valentine's Day fundraiser, poker night (Wednesdays at 9pm - Rugby Headquarters) - which has been running for almost six years straight without missing a beat, cross country ski tours to the Laurentians, carol singing, the Easter egg hunt, pumpkin carving at Halloween, and the Annual toy bazaar. The Club also supports local charities and fundraisers such as the Ste-Anne's food bank and the Duck Race, which is held annually at the Locks. With a 3rd tour behind us, there is talk of the Grand Poobah of all tours - Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand. Stay tuned, and don't forget to book your seat on the chartered jet. Rumour has it Marty is applying for his pilot's license so he can get us all there for under 100$ apiece.