Wichita Barbarians Rugby Football Club
Heart of America / Mid-America Union DIII:
Champions – 2015, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009
Runners-up – 2014, 2012
Western / Frontier Region DIII:
Champions – 2015, 2012
Runners-up – 2013, 2011, 2009 (lost to eventual champions Northern State)
USA Rugby National Championships DIII:
National Champions- 2015
Elite Eight – 2015, 2013 (lost to eventual champions Oceanside), 2012
Sweet Sixteen – 2015, 2013. 2012, 2009
The Wichita Rugby Union Football Club was formed in 1973 by Air Force Captain Vern
Francis. He and several others who played on both the East and West coast gathered a group of
young men that summer. Many of these men had never heard of or played the sport before. For
the first several years the team was not very successful.
In 1975, Bryan Morrison from New Zealand offered to coach the club. New Zealand has a very
strong rugby tradition. He recruited several players from California to play for the team. Under
his guidance, the club started winning matches. In 1977 two Wichita Rugby Union players, Dan
Culbertson and Bruce Henderson were selected to play for the American international side (or
caps). Dan never made it off the bench but Bruce was capped. A well prepared Canadian side
won the match 17-6.
In 1977, another rugby club sprang up -- Old Yeller Rugby. The team was mostly made up of
former KU and Washburn ruggers. A majority were lawyers who didn't want to play for Wichita
after having been beaten by them so badly in the preceding years. They wanted to form their own
team and defeat Wichita. By 1979, they had begun to win against the aging Wichita side.
Wichita was having problems recruiting new players and many veterans were retiring.
In 1982, the two clubs merged to form the Wichita Barbarians Rugby Football Club. These two
clubs formed a very strong rugby team and they were very competitive in Division I of the Heart
of America Union. But once again, the inability to recruit and to replace retiring veterans was
sapping the club. In 1990 the Wichita Barbarians folded. For a very short while there was a WSU
club side, but this did not last either.
David Farris, former Cornell, Kansas State University/Fort Riley RFC member and Topeka
Wizards member, moved to Wichita in 1993. Dave had been the club president in Topeka and
had the knowledge, so he contacted several veterans and began reorganization of the club. The
Wichita Barbarians Rugby Football Club was reformed. At first, with only ten members and little
financing, the team was less than competitive. But by 1994 an influx of new talent, as well as
backing by sponsors, helped the Barbarians become more competitive.
In recent years, the team has seen a run of unprecedented success. Within the local area union,
Wichita has been dominant, claiming five of the past seven league titles through 2015. The
Barbarians have also been regularly doing well on a national scale, having finished in the top 16
teams of DIII rugby five of the past seven years. In 2009, the only two teams to beat Wichita
were the teams that wound up playing each other for the national title. In fact, since 2009,
Wichita has twice had the unfortunate luck of being beaten out of the playoffs by the eventual