Team photo after the championship in May. Photo courtesy of Dallas Rugby Football Club.

Months after winning USA Club Rugby’s National Championship in 15-player (XVs) games for the first time in team history, the Dallas Rugby Football Club (DRFC) added a top 10 finish in a seven-player (7s) tournament in St. Louis over the weekend.

DRFC beat Philadelphia team Schuykill River in May to win the XVs national championship, which was held in Atlanta, Georgia. The Dallas club dominated the qualifying tournaments and traveled to St. Louis to add the 7s National Championship to the trophy shelf, hoping to do what no other club rugby team in the country has done before, winning the XVs and the 7s in the same year. DRFC fell short in pool play and failed to make the quarterfinals, but beat the Washington Athletic Club (WAC) for ninth place.

XVs games are played with 15 players and 40-minute halves, while 7s are played with seven players on each squad and 7-minute halves. The rules on the field are the same for each version, but 7s are played a faster pace.

If you have lived in East Dallas within the last 30 years, no doubt you have noticed DRFC playing and practicing at Lake Highlands Park at the corner of Buckner and Lake Highlands Drive. Near White Rock Lake, the park is one of two Dallas parks with rugby goals. (Glencoe Park near Mockingbird and Central is the other.)

“The Dallas Rugby Football Club is the largest rugby club in the country,” says Filip Keuppens, the director of rugby for DRFC. “We have men’s, women’s and youth teams attracting over 200 players. Because rugby plays an important part in players’ lives and the practice fields are in East Dallas, many players and their families live in this part of town.”

Current and past players in White Rock Lake neighborhoods include Keuppens, Pablo Williams, Mike Kenealy, Chris White, Kevin Clark, Mike Xuereb, Chris Herzog, John Kaspar and Dee Claybrook.

The DRFC season is over, and the club begins practice at Lake Highlands Park in October to defend their title as National Champions.