After being re-entered into the RFU league of Midlands 5 West South The Rugby Lions have cleaned up winning the league with 3 games to spare. A magnificent achievement.
The Rugby Lions club were removed from league rugby due to financial irregularities at the end of the 2011/12 season. This brought a once great rugby club to its knees with no players & heavy debts. Was there a future for this club??
To have any chance of returning the glory days back to Webb Ellis Rd a team of life long club players, mates & nothing short of heroes played friendly matches. Without them this club may have disappeared for good. They achieved the unthinkable & refused to give in & conformed to RFU criteria to regain league status for the 2013/14 season in Midlands 5. The club owe a lot to these players who were known as the 'Tailenders'.
As much as regaining league status was fantastic it brought a sense of unknown to the club. Suddenly the club had to react & get back on its feet. Former Chairman David Owen returned to the fold to lead the revival bringing in a strong committee & coaching team to rebuild many burnt bridges within the community.
Head of Playing Steve King was set the task of rejuvenating the playing side & quickly appointed 3 player coaches to assist in growing their player base. Nothing short of a mountain to climb with only a handful of players registered, all the coaching team focused on player recruitment to bring back a team bond they would need to stay strong in hard times. Players joined slowly with a task of new coaching ideas mixed with unfamiliar people meant progress could be testing.
The guys trained hard & immediately felt part of the club after meeting emotional supporters chatting about their love for the club & gratitude these players were giving them by standing strong together for their club. The supporters did not go away, they grew in numbers as their Lions started to believe in themselves & winning game after game. Though there was still that question in everyone's head, "how good are we??"
The Lions progressed into round 2 of the Midlands Junior Vase, drawn to be at home against the league leaders, Bedford Swifts, from the league above. Suddenly there was doubt in the supporters voices, The Lions were not concerned & had nothing to lose but all to gain, an outstanding winning performance of 30-15 gave the club a real lift in belief that there team may have more potential than perhaps people had thought, the supporters were passionate that day & also started to believe.
The players felt invincible from their cup victory & pushed on harder beating all their opponents in the league & Junior Vase to date. Nothing short of amazing!!
Every body would have laughed at being League champions, in a Midlands Junior Vase Final & Warwickshire Semi-Final in July last year!!! Now we need to make this season the season to remember, to rise from the ashes & start to finish the job off this weekend by winning at Long Buckby.
All the supporters I've spoken to can not believe how far the club has come & what has been achieved in such a short space of time. The players have belief in each other that anything is possible if you’re prepared to work for it. So far they have worked hard for each other. Now they need to raise the bar.