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This month in STUDS

  • Editorial Comradery: How the words 'you are one of us, what do you not understand about that?' broke me, but made me a happier man. 
  • Rugby at the club: further expansion of training allowed including 27+
  • Comradery. Why is this such an important value for rugby players? Who we are, we become 'All for One' on the pitch. And beyond. 
  • General Members Assembly Rugby Nederland; what's coming up? 
  • Pictures from TBM Highland Games
  • Throwback: famous New Zealanders playing for ARC. James Grandiek & Alan Clarke (video & passionate 'memoires') talk about the really great times (hint, champions) and the warm home the men and women of ARC provided for them and even bringing them up to speed with Sinterklaas.  


Editorial - The Odd One In.


‘I think you could put those shoulders of yours to a better cause than just showing ‘m off in a bar’ a guy in a rugby shirt barked in my right ear hoping to get his message across whilst trying to shout over the blasting pop tune. The shirt obviously had an effect, albeit an unexpected one.
The next Sunday I showed up in the Amsterdamse Bos for my first training. After a heavy Saturday night not the first thing on your mind. But since they were a funny bunch of guys trying to get a team off the ground, I decided to join them. 4 years later and having played most of our friendly games in the park or in illustrious places like New York, London, Dublin and Edinburgh during Bingham- or Union Cups, we still were ending last every single time. So I thought It wouldn’t hurt to ‘get some help’ at one of the local clubs. A real club. A normal one. You see we were pretty high profile, with regular local and national television coverage. Sadly not for our points on the pitch but for the stereotype we were breaking out of. Guys like us are supposed to be good at decorating homes, designing expensive couture gowns, arranging flowers and figure skating (which of course we do better than anyone). The football mentality dominated sports media clearly found themselves confronted with the odd one out on this one: gay guys playing rugby? After the merge of our LowLanders team with ARC, I switched sides to better myself in the game.  
With not having started rugby at the age of 7, that proved to be a bit of a challenge. But hey, after a couple of black eyes, bruised pinkie’s and thumbs, fissured pelvic bone and permanent stud marks here and there I was really enjoying my life on the second row. I now sung naughty songs, drank beer instead of Gin-Tonic, saw more naked men in one weekend of Tour than in my whole pre-rugby life combined and hell, even could kick all the other guys off the top of the tour bus during the song ‘there’s only one poof on the roof’
Honestly, the physical part turned out to be the easy one. The tough part was that I had to fight my own stupid ideas that I would be perceived as a 2nd class citizen in the ARC rugby brotherhood. That instead the biggest Kiwi and the best players of the 1st team assured me that I was a cool dude for simply loving the game, supporting the club in my way and trying to be the best brother I could be. 
And, of course… for being able to set them up with beautiful women! Thinking about it that might have helped considerably, as they were hunting women like a pack of wolves and I had to market my guys to these girls. Mostly involving phrases like ‘normally he isn’t this drunk and he usually doesn’t wear his pants around his ankles.’ And so, I became the odd one in. My efforts in playing a hard but respectful game with my team mates, the guys in the other shirts and the referee, hosting a great 3rd half for them. Or playing my part as a shoulder to cry on because ‘you gay guys know what to do with emotions’ not only gained kudos from my teammates, it gave me a deep insight in what comradery truly means for a rugby player. The Kiwi (Tahi) and consorts (Joost, Kris, Matty, Weeman and Renaud) formed a circle and said: 'you are one of us, what do you not understand about that?' Those words changed my life forever, because as it turned out the only one who believed I was a 2nd class, ill-fitting outsider was me, and I had held pretty stupid ideas about these big rugby guys. 
The love & respect for this game shown on the pitch has implications that go much, much further than just that patch of grass and mud. It made me see that you get respect if you give respect and are willing to understand the other. We shared victories, defeat, beer, laughter and even opened up about our insecurities and pains. 
Comradery is not depending on who you happen to fall in love with, but how you try to be the best person you can be for yourself and for your team. They depend on you, just as you may depend on them. When you give, rugby gives back and unites all to be as one. These rugby players may have even shown me a better version of society where comradery, respect, fairness and inclusiveness come by heart. If only the whole world could be like this, it would be a better place for all. 

My journey into rugby, first published in 2012 for the 40th anniversary of Rugby Club Bern, Switzerland (hey, it's not cheating if you live in another country) 


Pablo went out to check out what's happening with playing rugby at the club. From the 'what lockdown-reality' of the Youth to the 'couch potatoes-come back' for some of the 27+. Check these updates & get fit for next season. 

  • The younger teams (TBM, and CJC) are training as before, and playing Rugby matches against each-other. At the moment they play matches among themselves, albeit not being able play any competitions. 
  • The ARC Ladies are training hard. The U27 ladies are training together with the girls from the Juniors and Colts on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 19:30 onwards, and some of the Ladies (also over 27) also join the ARC3 Sessions on Fridays. 
  • The Lowlanders have started their training again on Fridays at the Amstelveense Rugby Club (up to 24 people) where they practice rugby skills as well as conditioning. In the weekend of the 21st of October they hope to join a Rugby Clinic in Edinburgh including a tournament with other clubs from Europe and UK. They keep their fingers crossed hoping they can make it! Coach Gerben proudly says: “Getting back together doesn't just make us realize that we need to train, but what we have with each other is something to work for”. 
  • ARC1 and ARC2 continues their Tuesdays and Thursdays trainings (also with contact) as they have in the past months with the players under 27 years of age (U27). They are also profiting from the experience of certain over 27 years old players as coaches. If conditions are optimal friendly matches (7vens or 10s) with the Colts are being arranged. The Coach David reflected "It's been great seeing the U27 group improving and enjoying being back together.  Highlights have been some of our older players joining us to coach and reconnecting through that and the integration of our Colts players." 
  • ARC3 is doing a hard and fun conditioning training on Tusday via Zoom and Friday at the ARC pitch. 'Sylvia the trainer' said that her trainings are similar to the pre-season trainings at the Amsterdamse Bos from last summer, but she warns people: "but you never know how long 20 seconds takes, until you exercise" -Pablo


Each month we take one of our ARC Rugby Values and ask folks in the club how they identify with them. This month: Comradery. Looking for reasons to get misty-eyed? Then read along.

After the men of the first hour (born in 40s/50s), the gentlemen of my generation (60s), this month it is the turn for 5 players from more recent history.  

Joost Puijpe - Member of Merit - Club captain -ex international NL XV - former first team captain - youth trainer / coach

"Actually over the years it boils down to one sentence: "play hard, party hard!" Together with your comrades. That's camaraderie for me." 

Gijs van der Pol - Ex international NL XV and 7's (and Aruba, and once for Wales) - former first team Captain 

"Comradery - for me - is the most important core value of our sport. So I would like to contribute. There is a Dutch quote: “when you win you have friends, when you lose your comrades remain.” I have experienced that comradery arises and grows under pressure and in adversity. Those who (continue to) stand beside you when things get really tough, that is comradeship. My good advice would therefore be, just when things get tough, when you go to a match with 10 men, when you have lost five matches in a row, when nobody comes to training anymore, when the opponent is twice as big, to stand there and take a good look at who is still standing next to you. It is at those moments that comradery is created and that is far more valuable than any championship."

Nils Lauffer - Ex international NL 7's - former first team Captain

"Unity by diversity: a road worker, a lawyer, a civil servant and an entrepreneur all playing together in one rugby team. Camaraderie in optima forma, I have after many years playing in the position of hooker strongly felt, in the front row you are playing a kind of game within a game. Where you have to carry the forces behind you, like horses galloping, but also manage the forces in front of you. It takes camaraderie to do this for each other, and during this effort, your origin, background or position in society are irrelevant."

Yascha Wolff (16) from ARC Juniors - member since 2018

"After having played football, I started playing rugby for ARC. Here I finally understood comradery and how important it can be. To be precise, when I played football, the guys in my team were very hostile and annoying; things changed when I started to play rugby, and I realized that it really doesn't have to be that way and you can also just be buddies outside and inside of the team.

Samir Toumi (55) - lifelong NFC/ARC member since 1980 - Youth International - former 1st XV player - former Head coach and current Coach ARC3/4.

“Comradery for me is sharing a a lot of firsts together, on and also off the pitch. And remembering them over a pint or two, realizing that all those things happened over decades of friendship”


Are you showing off what you're made of? Then order your ARC Club Values shirt below


By now you would think COVID is the only thing we talk about, but nothing is further from the truth as Rugby Nederland, our national rugby union explained in their General Member Assembly. (all the 89 clubs) A quick update on the last GMA of March 2021.

  • Referees. The demand for referees remains high in the Netherlands. Therefore, the GMA has decided on the following:        
    • For each team registered in the men’s, ladies and colts cup competition, the club pays a certain fee upfront, equal to the current fine system as “Match Official Development Fee”. At the end of the competition, the clubs who meet the requirements with regard to referees are refunded. They receive a training voucher based on the number of match officials they are able to provide.This rule will be implemented in phases, with the first season (2021/22) as a transition period.
  • Continuation of the competition 2020/2021. Good news! The training staff has announced to start organising internal matches for everyone below 27! This will be a combination of seniors and colts at the appropriate level of contact.
  • Season 2021/2022. For upcoming season, the most important developments are:        
    • The number of teams in the Ereklasse will be reduced significantly at the end of the season.
    • RN is reviewing the possibility of a U23 or U21 competition 
  • Athlete Union Ereklasse Men. Partly on request of the players in the Ereklasse Men, and in line with the recommendation of the NOC*NCF, the Athlete Union has been created. The Union protects the interest of male athletes in the Ereklasse and is the first of its kind in the Netherlands. They are focused on player welfare and have an advisory role with regard to setup and functioning of the Ereklasse. All 16 clubs in the Ereklasse have one representative. For ARC, this representative is Melvin Gale. Should you have any questions or input you would like the Athlete Union to discuss, please contact Melvin on


Pictures from the 2021 Easter Highland Games 

What a day! What a weather! And what a great joy it was for all of those on the pitch. The Turfs, Benjamins and Minis were giving it their all and so did Rudy and his team.  

Foto credit: Wiebke de Jong-Fischer  


"If we win, lose or draw, there's a winner in us all" (rugby anthem 'World in Union')


For the actual facts and exact dates, I would like to refer to the 2 fantastic anniversary books of our club, "NFC 1963-1988" (At the Rijksmuseum, available for inspection😉 ) and "Amstelveen Rugby Club 50 Jaar 1963-2013", which must still be available at the club)

As the International Rugby club of Amsterdam, foreigners have always played a very essential role at our club. The harmony amongst us all and their integration within our club has been seamless throughout the years, and the friendships that have been formed are literally borderless. Our club was founded by a Scotsman, our youth department by a Brit, various chairmen and first team captains have been non-Dutch and we even have a British honorary members and a member of merit of Rugby Nederland (in addition to 3 Dutch honorary members/MoM from the old NRB). This does not mean that we cannot do it on our own, but fair is fair; it is fun, instructive and helps us a lot. You will understand that I avoid mentioning names here, and not only just to keep you waiting in suspense.

In the first part of this article, I want to especially zoom in on top foreign players we have brought over, or who a higher power delegated to us became members, and contributed in an exceptional manner to increase the performance and chances of our first team. There are many to mention now, but a few really stand out, and represent two of the most successful periods in our First XV premier league history, where our flagship seriously competed for the title. 

Both need no introduction to many, but believe me these 2 gentlemen from New Zealand were - already after one round of play - the most talked about players of the premier league. They explain to you how it all went down and what they experienced: James Grandiek (91-93), the friendly giant and protector of the other superstar Murray Erikson) choose to record a movie and drink Pinot Noir ... and the more recent but also legendary Superman Alan Clarke (2002-2006), or AC as he was called, prefers a laptop and also mentions 2 special people, Frieda Cornwall and the Maestro Gerrit Dekker.

Enjoy..... it really is truly a walk down memory lane 

- Cris


New Zealander James Grandiek tells all about his time at ARC


Why ARC brings a smile to my face 

- Alan Clark, New Zealand

Hello to all my friends from the mighty ARC! "Hoe is et met jou? Alles goed? Lekker Weer, he? Prima." [apart from still being able to order beers, and counting to 10, that’s all the Dutch I remember!]  

Cris contacted me recently and asked me to send through some memories and reflections on my time living and playing rugby in Amsterdam.  I jumped at the chance as I often think about my time there, and it always brings a smile to my face. At home I have a special box with my old ARC jerseys, team shirts and CDs (iTunes hadn’t been invented then!), and opening it every now and then is like opening a photo album - I remember lots of amazing times

that were possible through being a rugby nomad that was lucky enough to somehow end up at ARC 1890 for 3 ½ seasons! 

FLTR: Tom Conwell, AC, Frida Conwell

Amsterdam I arrived in August 2002 planning to play for one season, and left over 3 years later having thoroughly enjoyed working and living in the incredible city that Amsterdam is. Amsterdam was an awesome experience, vibrant and beautiful, a big city but also so small and accessible on the fiets, history, museums, parks, music, football, nightlife….and rugby of course…..incredible. But mostly when I think about my time there, I think about the kindness, warmth and comradery of the great friends that I made living there for 3 years, who were so welcoming and made the Netherlands experience such a fun one. It was the unique experiences with my newly found Dutch friends, other rugby nomads, team mates and club supporters that I look back on most fondly. 

I remember; 

  • Immediately being welcomed into homes for dinners, bbqs, Sinterklaas dinner (including learning to write the poems) , Dutch Christmas lunch, 
  • Numerous visits to those amazing little Belgian bier bars (de Zotte still my favourite) to learn the difference between Mc Chouffe and La Chouffe, and then a trip to Belgium for the weekend to sample the same bier straight from the tap! 
  • New Years holiday on a boat on some tiny island off the north coast, 
  • Going to see world class bands like the De Sjonnies at a local festival, and seeing some smaller acts like Bon Jovi at The Arena 
  • The wonderful craziness of Carnival in Boxtel and Queens Day on the canal with those mad, mad costumes and music
  • The end of season rugby tour to south of Spain, where we didn’t even play any rugby! 
Rugby Firstly I think about the weather! I had never played in a snow blizzard before, and I have never played as much rugby (mostly the great game of 7’s!) in glorious sunshine in April/May!  

I was there for 3 ½ seasons, and they were all very different: 

  • 2002/03: We were still playing in the Eerste klasse aiming to get back into the top flight.We had a few comfortable wins, but plenty of close games too, and the league title came down to one of the last matches versus Den Haag II which we won. I think that was the only league title I ever won playing any sport, and I still have...  
Teamfoto ARC kampioenen

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