Rugby Union Read more
MGS Rugby clearly had a measure of success in the nineteenth century: one of only two schoolboys ever to play for a full England team whilst still at school was an MGS boy.
In the days of Long Millgate, with the School in the centre of Manchester, the pitches were in Salford at what is now Manchester United’s training ground. The move to Fallowfield at least meant our pitches were at the School even though they were clay-based and badly drained.
Despite the odd individual and team success Rugby remained a low profile sport at MGS. Throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s most good ball players chose to play Soccer. The combination of heavy pitches and lack of creative players meant that MGS Rugby was dour and, with a strong fixture list, mainly unsuccessful.
Things began to turn around in the 80s with better drainage, the introduction of B teams and perhaps most importantly the development of the Club atmosphere in Rugby. This was epitomised by the Annual Dinner, which started to attract some of the ball players. Now at least the teams were playing more attractive rugby and success rates started to improve.
1990 saw the first major tour abroad – to Holland and subsequently the seniors have toured every two years to France, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Australia and South America.
The inaugural tour was followed by the appointment of the first advertised Head of Rugby, Mark Appleson, an international player himself and a respected coach who added technical expertise to the efforts of the large team of
The spadework of the 80s now saw dividends as the Rugby prospered. On the playing front, the B teams spread upwards and many teams regarded winning as the norm now. MGS teams played a recognisable 15-man style of attacking rugby. On the social front the annual Rugby barbecue became a highlight of the school social calendar and the Junior Presentation Evening was introduced.
Into a new century Dave Muckalt replaced Mark Appleson, adding a fresh dimension to the expertise with his own distinctive approach and the recruitment of outside coaches. The fixture list now saw B team games for all age groups nearly every Saturday. Teams regularly reached the later stages of county and national competitions and MGS is now recognised as a genuine rugby school.
And so to the present under new Head of Rugby, Steve Swindells, our third top class player in that post. Perhaps it is time to see another full international from MGS and for one or more of our teams to go all the way in one of the national competitions.