Woodsmen 2020 Rugby History

The Evolution of the Modern Woodsman

The following is the story of how the Northwest Woodsmen Rugby Club came to exist. Not all of the facts are clear and the author has taken some liberties to embellish an otherwise boring story. As near as can be determined, in 1979, our founder, Chuck Reilly, was playing for the Fox Valley Maoris. Just like the early stages of Darwin’s evolutionary chain we can not determine the exact origins of the Fox Valley Maoris. Chuck became disgruntled, or just plain fed up with travelling to St. Charles, so Chuck packed up his kit bag and decided to start his own club in Elgin. Because Chuck still had his blue a white uniform from Fox Valley, his new team, The Elgin River Rats, would also bear those colors. Another legend has Chuck creating the Elgin River Rats because a Fox Valley Player had to sit a one game suspension. Chuck created the River Rats then Scheduled a game the following week, allowing his player to sit out his suspension.


Thus, the Elgin River Rats were born

Webster’s defines a river rat as such, River Rat: Rat, (Noun) any of various stout-bodied rodents usually having a pointed muzzle and long scaly tail. Many of the Elgin River Rats resembled Webster’s definition in one way or another. The New club prospered. But just like the Neanderthals something was brewing on the horizon.

The Missing Link

Circa 1996 the club fell on hard times. The club decided to drop the Elgin moniker to make it easier to recruit from the more densely populated northwest suburbs. Several names were nominated, and for a number of months the club was referred to as the Chicagoland Blues, and the Woodfield Maulers as well as the Palatine All Pinks. Most Woodsmen refer to this time as the Dark Ages.

Today’s Modern Woodsman

In 1997 the club adopted the name The Northwest Woodsmen Rugby Club and never looked back. Since then, the club has grown in respectability in CARFU and our signature “Axe to the Head” cheer is known throughout the Midwest.

  • 1999-2005 Qualified for the Midwest Play-Offs
  • 2002 Midwest Champions
  • 2002 9th Place in National Finals
  • 2004 Midwest Final Four


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