We last caught up with Murdoch Fitzgerald and his fledgling Montreal Exiles Rugby Club as he was just getting it off the ground last March.

The Exiles ended up having very successful summer, making the playoffs, and growing into what Fitzgerald believes will be a permanent fixture in this community.

“Founding a rugby club from the grass roots up is a Herculean task. There were many [doubters] in Montreal’s rapidly growing rugby community with respect to our ability to take the field this season, but we made it happen – rugby in NDG is a reality and it’s here to stay,” Fitzgerald said.

The Exiles in action in 2011 (Pic courtesy Murdoch Fitzgerald/Montreal Exiles)

“We had a very successful inaugural season, finishing with a 6-4 winning record that placed the Exiles third in our division as well as making it to the league semi-final, only to be narrowly beaten in a nail-biter by the eventual league champs.”

Prop William Scott was thrilled with the participation of the local community.

“One of the great things this club has brought to NDG and its members are the new friendships that have been formed,” Scott said.

“Rugby is a club sport and therefore everyone is welcome, no matter what skill level. The club is open to anyone that wants to contribute their time in whatever capacity they can. Secondly the fan support has been outstanding and the response of NDGers has been great.”

Fitzgerald agreed.

“We were really surprised with the influence and reception that we’ve had in the local community. Several new recruits joined the Exiles mid-season, some of which had no previous rugby experience. It’s still very much an emerging sport, but no doubt that our presence will hopefully inspire others to either come out and play, or be part of our club.”

Facilities are often a problem for local clubs of all kinds. The Exiles, however, were more than happy with the field provided to them by the CDN-NDG borough.

“Having a home field strategically positioned in the centre of NDG has been critical to our success. The field at Confederation Park is quality and every guest team that played us there gave positive feedback.

We’re extremely thankful to the city for providing such a solid facility. In addition, the proximity of the field for players and fans is very convenient for travel and there is lots of space for kids to run around,” Fitzgerald said.

With all their accomplishments in 2010 and big plans to expand to more age and skill levels in 2011, it looks like Fitzgerald et al indeed have a success story on their hands.

For more on the Montreal Exiles, visit: www.montrealexiles.com

You can always reach me at noahsidel@gmail.com

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