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Launceston RUFC

Cornish All Blacks
Full name Launceston Rugby Club
Union Cornwall RFU
Nickname(s) Cornish All Blacks
Founded 1948; 70 years ago (1948)
Location Launceston, Cornwall, England
Ground(s) Polson Bridge (Capacity: 3,000 (194 seats))
Chairman Paul Harrison
President Richard Dennis
Coach(es) Ryan Westren / Ian Goldsmith
Captain(s) Lloyd Duke
League(s) Tribute South West 1 West
2017-18 3rd
Team kit
Official website
Polson Bridge, home of Launceston Rugby Club

Launceston Rugby Club (also known as the Cornish All Blacks) are a Cornish rugby club. The club plays in Tribute South West 1 West, the sixth tier of the English rugby union system.[1]


The club was founded in 1948 after an inaugural meeting chaired by the then Headmaster of Launceston College, Mr Spencer Toy with Gordon Reeve, Eric Smith and Arthur Venning (who is still a member). By Spring 1949, the club had its own ground, rented from the council (now a factory site of its main sponsor DS Smith Plc), with scaffolding poles for goal posts and ex-army huts for changing rooms and a clubhouse. The club moved to another site when the Town Council sold the land, but again moved on in 1969 when the club had the vision to refuse becoming part of the proposed Sports Centre. The ground at Polson Bridge was purchased in 1969, with developments such as floodlights, enlarged clubhouse, present changing rooms and finally the grandstand being added over the years.

In 1981 they then went on to win the Cornwall Senior Cup for the first of many since wins and started their remarkable climb to be one of the top 40 sides in England (from a town with a population of just over 7,000). LRFC gained promotion to National League Division 3 South (level 4) in 2000 and were runner-up in their first season, losing in the play-off away to National 3 North side Sedgley Park. The following season, 2001–02, LRFC were 2nd again, but this time won the play-off against Dudley Kingswinford, and were promoted to Division Two (level 3). They were unfortunate to be relegated after a most unusual series of results on the last day of the season. However, in 2003–04 Launceston bounced right back by again finishing second but winning the play-off away to Halifax. LRFC finished in 5th position in National League Division 2 (level 3) in 2004–05 and by the end of the 2006–07 season they had been promoted to English National Division 1 (level 2). On 26 April 2008, the Cornish All Blacks suffered a final day relegation to Division 2 (level 3) as an unexpected sequence of final day results saw relegation threatened Birmingham & Solihull and Sedgley Park pull off dramatic wins against Bedford and Rotherham respectively. The Cornish All Blacks were relegated when they had actually won more games than either of their two rivals. In truth the damage had been done earlier in the season when losses against Newbury (away), Nottingham (away), Sedgley Park (away), Birmingham & Solihull (away), Esher (home) came back to haunt the coaching staff and players.


Polson Bridge is situated on the Cornish side of the River Tamar, next to the bridge that gives the ground its name, about 1.5 miles east of the town of Launceston. The ground consists of a main pitch with flood-lights, with the stand on one side of the pitch and a long covered standing terrace on the other, two club-houses with bars including the executive suite, a gym, changing rooms and three additional pitches for 2nd XV and junior rugby. The ground also has a couple of car parks, although parking can be an issue at bigger games such as local derbies.

The original capacity of Polson Bridge, according to press reports, was thought to be around 6,000 but in the current ground this would be unsafe.[2] A more realistic estimate of capacity around the main pitch would be 3,000, including 194 seats in the main stand and the rest standing. The club came close to achieving this capacity figure on 1 September 2007 when 2,995 supporters watched the club play a league game against the Cornish Pirates during the 2007–08 season. In recent times the club has enjoyed derby games against Redruth which have regularly attracted 1,000+ crowds.

League Standings

  • 2008–09: finished 7th in National League 1 (level 3)
  • 2009–10: finished 3rd in National League 1 (level 3). Equivalent to 27th best club in the country. The highest result achieved by the Cornish All Blacks.
  • 2010–11: Launceston Rugby Football Club Ltd went into administration. A new company Launceston Rugby Club Ltd was formed. The RFU gave the Cornish All Blacks a 20-point deduction. The Cornish All Blacks won only 10 of 30 games for a points total of 44 after the 20 point deduction. Ironically 64 points was the minimum to prevent relegation. The Cornish All Blacks were relegated along with Redruth and Otley.
  • 2011–12: finished 7th in National 2 South (level 4) winning 16 of 30 games
  • 2012–13: finished 7th in National 2 South (level 4) winning 14 of 28 games
  • 2013–14: finished 12th in National 2 South (level 4) winning 15 of 30 games
  • 2014–15: finished 10th in National 2 South (level 4) winning 12 of 30 games
  • 2015–16: finished 16th in National 2 South (level 4) winning 0 of 30 games (relegated)
  • 2016-17: finished 12th in National 3 South West (level 5) winning 7 of 26 games (relegated)
  • 2017-18: finished 3rd in Tribute South West 1 West (level 6) winning 18 of 26 games


Notable players

See also


  1. ^ "Cornish All Blacks relegated after narrow defeat at Lydney". Bude Today. 7 April 2017. 
  2. ^ "Cornwall takes on the All Blacks". The Telegraph. 24 October 2008. 
  3. ^ "John Fry, Launceston and Cornwall rugby president, dies at 80". Cornish Guardian. 12 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Prog Notes - Tynedale Rugby Football Club: TYNEDALE v LAUNCESTON". Tynedale Rugby Football Club. 10 January 2009. Archived from the original on 26 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "Trelawny's Army Final League Tables 1999-2000". Trelawny's Army. 22 March 2015. 

External links