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Hawaii Harlequins Book

The Hawaii Harlequins celebrated their 50th-year anniversary with the publication of a commemorative book published in 2014.  The book is packed with pictures and stories. The editors have done a superb job, and with the aged recollections of years gone by, prone to hyperbole.

The book cautions: "This is a story about legends and cannot be scientifically verified. Some details may not be completely accurate."

Isolated in the Pacific, the difficulty was finding any opponents, so rugby started in the historic way by challenging visiting New Zealand ships whose crews were eager for some land contact

Unbeknownst to the foudners of the club, once word spread that rugby was available in Hawaii, mainland clubs started to make the Islands a must tour destination in the same fun and spirit that east coast clubs found Bermuda. 


The Harlequins in the beginning...

Although there is evidence of sporatic games in Hawaii as early as 1884, Hawaii rugby was really established in 1964, when Dr. Jack Keenan (an irish ex-pat) and two buddies, Bob Hampton and Brian O'Neil, created the Hawaii Harlequins Rugby Football Club.

Games were mostly limited to playing visiting naval ships, although as time passed, word spread that there was rugby in Hawaii, mainly thanks to these gentlemen and subsequent club presidents such as Dixon Smith & Ralph Martinson. So followed many visiting teams, using any excuse to visit Hawaii for a tour.

In 1975 the Harlequins toured Australia, & New Zealand. This obviously helped with public relations, and as a result the following year saw a record 77 touring side games in Hawaii, in addition to league play.

The early 80's were again touring years for the Hawaii Harlequins, and the 1983 Pan-Am tour of Austraila and New Zealand provided wins against a number of teams including Sydney teams, Manly, Auckland Grammer, and Gisborne. By 1989 the Harlequins had shown their strength, by sending their A and B sides to the finals.

By the 90's the club solidified its success during the Monterey Tournament, by beating OMBAC (Old Mission Beach Athletic Club), regarded by many as America's Team. Also, 1999 showed a good result by the Harlequins beating the U.S. Marine team 76-3.

The Harlequins held successful tournaments in 2008, 2009, 2013, and 2014.

In 2012 the Harlequins hosted the vintage Rugby Carnival with over 1,500 participants at Kapiolani Park, Waikiki, on 5 pitches.

(Interested in purchasing the book? Go to the team's website: Finally, a big Mahola to Tom Conger, former Quins' player for sending us a copy of this book.)