The Early Years
The Mystic River Rugby Club was founded in 1974 by 32 members of the Boston Rugby Club, who in true revolutionary spirit, took a great step forward in exercising their independence. These men had long since functioned as a ‘club within a club’ and had developed a distinct style of play both on and off the field. These members were experienced rugby players and immediately the Mystics established a schedule within the first division of New England. They soon became a sought after fixture by teams from all over based on a reputation for hard, fast rugby and an aggressive “joie de vie”. In those days the social aspects of rugby were of almost equal importance to competition!
The club evolved throughout the 70’s with the influx of younger players and new personalities. Tours to Wales and the former Soviet Union (the Mystics were the first US team to play rugby in the USSR) highlighted these years. In the early 80’s the club saw a major turnover, a somewhat generational change, when several new players were attracted from local colleges. As rugby matured in New England so did the savvy of the younger players who had been exposed to organized coaching. Old Boys rugby began to take shape and several of the original Mystics now began playing a schedule of “over 30’s” rugby. In 1986 the Mystics returned to Malden where they were originally Incorporated in 1976.
The 1990’s: The Birth of a Dynasty
Coaches from overseas were now recruited. With several of the club’s players regularly representing New England and the East Coast in representative side play, the Mystics were committed to championship level rugby. Foreign touring sides from England, Ireland, Wales and other countries also helped “educate” the boys.
After tours of their own to France, Argentina and Australia, the club won the first of seven straight New England championships in 1989, and in the process removed the original parent club, Boston, from its perch atop New England rugby. The Mystics were now a force within the national rugby community. In 1992 the Mystic finished second in the US, losing to the Old Blues from California in the National Club Finals.
The Mystics Today
Over the years, the club has not lost its original style and flair, and now the Mystics enjoy a distinct reputation at the highest level of competitive rugby in the United States. The 2007 season saw the Mystics win their first New England title after twelve years, moving on to take the Northeast Championship in 2008 and a spot in the National Division 1 Sweet 16. In their 2009-2010 season, Mystic River again took both the New England and Northeast Championships, making it through to the quarter-final round of the USA Rugby DI National Championship Series as well as making their first ever appearance in the National Sweet 16 in 7s competition. 2010 also marked the expansion of the Mystic River Youth Rugby Program and the addition of the U-19 Mystic Eagles, who saw success in both 15s and 7s tournaments in their inaugural season. The Mystics men’s side made appearances in the Elite 8 in both 2011 and 2012, but could simply not progress further.
After a rebuilding phase, the club merged with the Middlesex Barbarians in the fall of 2014. This saw the club expand to field competitive Division 1 and 2 teams. The first season as a merged club saw the Division 2 squad make it to the National Sweet 16, and the Division 1 team make it all the way to the National Semi-Final for the first time since 1992. They lost a close match to the eventual Division 1 champions, NYAC, but went on to sevens success, coming third in the 7s National Championship.
The second year after the merger saw the Division 2 squad reach the Sweet 16 with an undefeated 11-0-1 record before they fell short of reaching the Elite 8. The Division 1 squad competed in a restructured Atlantic North league that included perennial New York powerhouses Old Blue and NYAC. The team finished second in the league with a 6-2 record after splitting home and away series with both New York teams, but this still gave the team a spot in the national Elite 8. The squad won their Elite 8 match with a convincing 28-3 score, and moved on to face Old Blue in the Final Four. The conditions were muddy and wet, and the Mystics showed huge guts to claim a 10-5 victory and a place in the National Championship for the first time since 1992. The squad then came back from a 26-18 half time deficit to defeat the Austin Blacks 45-33 in a roller coaster match.
The Mystics hope to continue their winning ways in the upcoming season and maintain their success in USA Division 1 Rugby. With a strong contingent of veterans, an avid support group and a new breed of future Mystic stars in a successful youth program, they are taking steps to achieve that goal.
Mystic First XV 1974
Mystic Second XV 1974
- National Champions (Division 1) – 2016, 2018
- National Finalist (Division 1) – 1992
- Eastern Champions (Division 1) – 1991
- National Final 4 (Division 1) – 2015
- National Elite 8 (Division 1) – 2010, 2011, 2012
- National Sweet 16 (Division 1) – 2008, 2009
- National Sweet 16 (Division 2) – 2015, 2016
- Northeast Champions (Division 1) – 1989, 1991, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015
- New England Champions (Division 1) – 1989, 1995, 2007, 2009, 2015
- National 7s Bronze Medalist – 2015
- National 7s Sweet 16 – 2010