Gloucester Rugby: Key Players, Titles, and Stadium
Gloucester Rugby History and Highlights.
Gloucester Rugby is a professional rugby club that plies its trade in the highest level of English rugby.
The team, known as the Cherry and Whites, has played at the Kingsholm Stadium since 1891 and competes in the Premiership Rugby league.
Gloucester Rugby has a long history in the sport and a healthy number of trophies to go with it. It has spent most of its years in the top-flight of England’s rugby union league pyramid, joint with Bath, Leicester, and The Wasps at 36 years.
Founding and Stadium
Gloucester was founded 149 years ago in 1873, and was first known as a ‘football club’; such was the term used in those days.
The team originally played at the Spa, a cricket ground. However, following an argument with the cricket club, it purchased a pitch in the area known as Kingsholm.
It’s a ground that the team still plays at today and was renovated in 2003 in what was known as ‘Project Kingsholm.’ With a capacity of 16,115, the stadium has been the venue for multiple international fixtures and was even one of the selected venues for the 1991 and 2015 Rugby World Cups, and also the 2000 Rugby League World Cup.
Strength in Numbers
Before the sport became professional in 1995, Gloucester went through a period of success in which it was Champion of the Anglo-Welsh Cup 3 times in 1971-72, 1977-78, and 1981-82. The team was also the 1985-86 National Merit Table A champion, and the runners-up in both the 1988-89 and 1989-90 Premiership Rugby titles.
During the early professional era, Gloucester had a formidable team that reached the 2000-01 semi-finals of the Heineken Cup at the first time of asking. The following year it finished top of the league, known as the Zurich Premiership. However, the league’s format at the time meant the team had to win a playoff game against the second-placed Wasps to win the trophy.
It wasn’t a popular format at the time, and Gloucester fans certainly wouldn’t have been supporters of it by the time the full-time whistle blew. Despite being clear at the top of the table by 15 points, Gloucester was destroyed in the final against Wasps, 39-3.
Since becoming professional, the club has succeeded in the second tier in European competitions. It won its first European Champions Cup in 2005-6 in a contest that, with two all-English semi-finals taking place, was dominated by the English teams.
Gloucester eventually defeated London Irish 36-34 in the final, giving the team access to the Heineken Cup the following year. However, it took nine years for the team to win the competition again in 2014-15, scoring 19 points to Edinburgh Rugby’s 13.
The team is still yet to win the Premiership Rugby title despite finishing at the top of the league at the end of the season. It’s the trophy that has eluded them to this day.
A Legend in Red and White
Gloucester has had some legends of the game represent it over the years, with many having incredibly successful internationals too.
None more so than tighthead prop Philip Vickery. The 6’3 man from Devon joined the club at the young age of 19 years old. He represented Gloucester Rugby on 145 occasions between 1995-2006 and was captain between 2001-03. He led them to the Zurich Championship in 2002 when they beat Bristol.
Vickery was awarded an MBE for his achievements with the international team, and was also granted the Freedom of Gloucester in 2004. He was known as the ‘Raging Bull’ from a young age due to his ferocious tackling, and you can argue this led to Vickery suffering from multiple injuries to his upper body which forced him to retire in 2010.