Club Anniversary Spotlight: Toronto Nomads

July 21, 2020


Club Anniversary Spotlight: Toronto Nomads

July 21st, 2020 

(WHITBY, ON) - The Club Anniversary Spotlight Series is a initiative which will recognize all Rugby Ontario Member Clubs that are celebrating a major anniversary during 2020. Next up is the Toronto Nomads, who are celebrating their 70th Anniversary!


The first Toronto Nomads rugby team was established in 1950 as a consequence of a player recruitment drive at the Canadian National Exhibition (“CNE”) organized by the Wanderers Rugby Football Club, which had formed the previous year but needed opposition teams to play.

The successful CNE recruitment drive yielded 80 new players and the following week the new players and existing Wanderers were divided into 3 teams with the necessary mix of forwards and backs. This meant that some former Wanderers were now members of the two new teams, who after being given half an hour to decide their name and colours, were the Nomads and Barbarians. Together with the University of Toronto team the Wanderers, Nomads and Barbarians formed a four-team competition. The Reverend Freddie Miller who chaired that 1950 player meeting became Nomads first captain and went on to be a life-long Nomad, while his brother continued to play for the Wanderers.

The Nomads flourished both on the field, winning five successive Carling Cups from 1960-1964, and off where its players, including many from rugby playing countries around the globe embraced and enjoyed the social side of our great game including hosting visiting teams and touring. Also, in the sixties, the Nomads became one of the founding shareholders of Fletcher’s Fields.

In the 70s and 80s Nomads members, ex-pats and locals, were heavily involved in the Caravan festival and the TRANZAC Club. In 1976 Nomads Peter Daley, Joe Wray, Bernie Duff and Dolores Maher founded the NAGS (Nomads Acting Group) Players, the successful theatre group that is still going strong today. 

In the nineties, the Nomads established their Women’s Rugby program and it has gone from strength to strength. Notable graduates of the club include, Canadian captains Kelly Russell and Laura Russell and Canada Sevens’ Asia Hogan-Rochester.

Today, the Toronto Nomads is proud to be one of five clubs whose men’s and women’s team both play in the top Ontario competitions, the Marshall League and OWL respectively. 

Notable Matches vs Touring Sides

London Harlequins 1973

Blackheath (The Club*) 1975/76 *Blackheath is always referred to as The Club because they are considered the oldest club in England

Moseley 1980

Rosslyn Park 1986

The Marches School 2017

The Kings School Grantham 2017


Carling Cup winners 1955, 1960,1961,1962,1963,1964, 1973 1976

2014: Nomads under 16s toured New Zealand

2015: Kelly Russell and Lucas Hammond win Gold medals at 2015 Pan Am games

2016: Kelly Russell wins Women’s 7s Bronze Medal at 2016 Rio Olympics

2017: Nomads Lucas Hammond scored the winning try to clinch Canada Men’s 7s historic first ever HSBC World Rugby Sevens tournament victory 

2019: Nomads players, Tyler Rowland, Kevin Verkas and Henry Stevenson represented Canada under 20 men. 

2019: Asia Hogan-Rochester scores a hat trick of tries in the final of the PanAm Women’s 7s in Lima, Peru

2020: Nomads Seniors women and men tour Nicaragua to mark Nomads 70th anniversary

Notable Alumni

Goran Bozickovic (Yugoslavia 6 caps)

Mike Dandy (Bristol and Canada)

Peter Frize (Canada men 1962)

Ian Gough (Wales 64 caps)

Lucas Hammond (Canada Men’s 7s 2013-2020)

Asia Hogan-Rochester (Canada Women’s 7s 2019-2020)

Tyler Rowland (Toronto Arrows 2020)

Kelly Russell (Canada 7’s & 15’s 35 caps) 

Laura Russell (Current captain of Canada Women’s 15s)

Brian Williams (Canada men 1962)

Outlook and Aspirations

Nomads Rugby believes club rugby is the game’s foundation and that the foundation must be solid and effective for Canadian rugby to prosper. Accordingly, we will strive to be the best club we can in all respects, both on and off the field. Nomads Rugby is committed to growing the game and the club by being a community-oriented club serving Toronto’s downtown and west-end neighborhoods, schools, youth and adults.


The Ontario Blues program is the high performance representative program for male and female rugby players in Ontario. Rugby Ontario is represented at the provincial level by the Ontario Blues. The program includes representative teams from Under-15 to Senior in both Women’s and Men’s Fifteens and Under-18 Men's and Women's Sevens. Specifically, the program is designed to develop and showcase rugby players for Canadian representative national teams.


Rugby Ontario is the provincial sports governing body responsible for the organization of rugby in Ontario. Our mission is to establish a stronger identity for rugby in Ontario by promoting the sport’s core values and by fostering a culture of inclusiveness and excellence on and off the field of play.

To learn more, visit


Dalton Finkbeiner

 Communications and Marketing Coordinator - Rugby Ontario

    647-560-4790 x 1006


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