Blast from the Past: History of London Skolars

London Skolars were founded during the centenary season of the Rugby Football League in 1995.

Initially created for post-university graduates in London, the club quickly became one open to all, and reflected the cosmopolitan nature of rugby league in the English capital.

After achieving initial success within the London League, the club became one of the founding members of the Southern Conference in 1997 (the forerunner to the RFL Summer Conference).

Skolars won the competition in it’s inaugural season and later that year, they entered the BARLA National Conference League, with the club played both in winter and in summer for four consecutive seasons.

During that period the club hosted Strella XIII, on the first tour of Great Britain by a team from the Russian Republic of Tatarstan in 1998. That was followed by a tour of Tatarstan and Russia, the first time that an amateur club had toured the former Soviet Union.

The club also demonstrated a commitment to developing the game during its amateur period, being one of the few amateur clubs to employ their own development officers.

In 2002 the club’s application to join the National Leagues the following year was accepted, meaning they were the first club in 80 years to make the jump from the amateur ranks to the professional leagues.

The first team still plays in the Kingstone Press Championship One, and as of yet the club have never managed promotion into the second tier of British rugby league, but this season, under head coach Joe Mbu, the Skolars will participate in the end-of-season play-offs.

The club also still runs amateur teams that play in the regional leagues, and an “old boys” side, who have appeared in a number of Masters Rugby League Festivals.

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