The Southwestern Ontario Rugby Union was formed in and around 1961 as a result of rugby clubs being formed west of Toronto.
In 1958 Doug Thornton was the driving force in the formation of the London Foresters Rugby Club, in the same year Ron Stott and Keith Hetherington started the Sarnia Saints RFC. In 1963 Windsor RFC was formed and several years later Blackrock in Windsor was also founded.
Brantford, London and Sarnia were the original clubs involved in the formation of the branch of the Ontario Rugger Union; the main reason was the lack of games and the clubs in Toronto not willing to travel to the southwest as the distance in terms of time was considerable. The clubs from the Southwest of Ontario did travel to the Toronto region for the competition and found the drive home quite enjoyable relishing in victory and fellowship.
As the years went by London, Sarnia and Windsor were the strong rugby areas within the region and had a great deal of success in the senior interbranch play within Ontario and touring sides which contributed a number of players to the provincial and national teams. Other clubs came to the leagues throughout the years, Forest City in London had a rich tradition in the late sixties through to the nineties, Forest in the seventies, Chatham in the seventies and early eighties and later resurrected in 2002, the Wallaceburg Mercenaries, a fine example of sportsmanship in the seventies and eighties, Kincardine in the eighties, reaching the provincial cup finals and continuing into the nineties and again resurrected in 2003 and St Thomas in the late seventies and later the Stratford Black Swans.
As the game developed in the Southwest, high schools grabbed the game and the growth within the region assisted the reformation and formation of the Kent Havoc, Kincardine Barbarians, Stratford Black Swans, Walkerton and Wingham Anchormen. The women’s game has been developing and there will be an expanded Southwest Women’s league involving seven clubs; Kent, London II’s, Northern Nomads (Walkerton), Sarnia, South Grey Stingers(Flesherton), Stratford Black Swans, Windsor Rogues for 2008.
We continue to work on the development of junior leagues and minor rugby in the region to develop or game and make the transition from high school to club rugby.