You are here
In the early 1930s, a few eastern rugby clubs (New York, Yale, Harvard, and Princeton) traveled to Bermuda for spring rugby games against local clubs, mainly composed of British ex-Pats working or teaching on the island.
Bermuda learned that visiting rugby fifteens proved important to the island’s tourism economy. After organizing a successful Easter Old Boys match in the 1970s, the Bermuda Rugby Union decided to expand the tournament via a new event, which started in 1988, and titled the World Rugby Classic. Invited would be national Old Boys sides from many nations, the fifteens filled with current and former nationally capped players.
The USA started to send Team America to the autumn event when invited. However, victories were scarce because the opposition from New Zealand, Argentina, and the British Isles, numbered many internationals with more experience than the USA ruggers.
The final in 2003 pitted France with many players having completed a season of First Division play, against Team America making their first Bermuda final debut.
The USA shocked world rugby with an opening round upset of Classic All Blacks. Team America ousted the tournament favorites 15-5, outscoring the Kiwis two tries to one.
Then, Team America met and conquered the Springboks, in the side’s second major upset in Bermuda. The USA scored three tries to South Africa’s two, and benefitted from the accurate penalty kicking from winger John Hinkin (OMBAC) who notched two penalties.
Les Bleus advanced into the Cup round with wins over Argentina, followed by a victory against the Classic BaBas.
The final witnessed two fifteens playing in their first World Rugby Classic. France prevailed 13-6 in a defensive battle with the match tied 3-3 at the end of the first half. France added a try and a conversion after the break to clinch the win, the game played in a constant downpour.
In an exhibition match, the US Golden Eagles Women’s XV beat the Classic Lionesses 15-10.