Why is Harlequins ground called The Stoop?

The reigning Premiership champions are currently one of the most exciting teams in the world to watch. Harlequins home support has been crucial to their success, particularly when they play at the Stoop.

Why is Harlequins ground called The Stoop? The Harlequins stadium is called The Stoop because it is named after Adrian Stoop who played for Harlequins in the early 20h century.

Adrian Stoop was born all the way back in 1883 in Kensington and started playing rugby at school. Stoop became the captain of the Oxford university rugby team. While he was still at school, Stoop was invited to join a west London rugby team called Harlequin F.C. He made his debut for the team at the age of 18 in 1901.

Four years later, Stoop made his England debut against Scotland. He would earn 15 caps for England, as a fly-half. Stoop captained England twice but his England career was limited due to a broken collarbone two years after his debut.

Despite his England career struggling, Stoop became club captain in 1906, a role he held until 1914. During this time, Stoop was massively involved with the backroom of the club and was club secretary from 1905-1914. His work on and off the field was incredible and helped shape Harlequins into the club they are now.

Stoop was team president from 1920 until 1950 and he continued to play rugby all the way until he was 56, retiring in 1939. Six years after Stoop passed away in 1957, Harlequins moved to a brand new stadium opposite Twickenham. In memory of Stoop, the ground was known as the Stoop Memorial Ground until 2005 when it was renamed the Twickenham Stoop Stadium. It is a fitting tribute to a man who helped to revolutionise Harlequins and England Rugby.

Where did Harlequins play before the Stoop

Harlequins rugby club was founded all the way back in 1866 and it was formerly known as Hampstead Football Club. After gaining some traction, Harlequins were invited to play at the national teams home venue. At the time, Twickenham was England’s new national stadium.

The stadium itself was opened all the way back in 1909 and Harlequins were invited to use it as its home venue. This is because at the time, there were usually only one or two international games played in a year. So there was pretty much no chance of conflicting schedules at the time.

After the second world war, rugby began growing internationally. This meant that more and more games started being added to the international calendar. Eventually, it was not feasible for Harlequins to share a stadium with the England National team. However, the club did not want to move very far. This is why, in 1963, Harlequins purchased a 14 acre area of land just across the road from the Twickenham Stadium. The Stoop was built and Harlequins moved across the road.

Why are Harlequins called Harlequins?

When the team was first formed in the 1800s, it was known as Hampstead Football Club. This name did not last long at all as only four years later, the team changed their name to Harlequin Football Club.

Before the name change, the clubs members wanted to continue using the monogram of HFC. They also wanted to continue using the Latin motto of the club, “Nunquam Dormio”. After much debate, they settled on Harlequin but it caused a split in the club.

Half of the members stayed with Harlequins while the other half split off to form another club in London. This club eventually moved out of London and is now known as London Wasps. There is not a reason why the team settled on Harlequins for the name of the team.

Harlequin is a very historic term. Back in the 1500s, a Harlequin was a comedy character who would often appear in a checkered costume. This chequered costume helped to form Harlequins rugby clubs uniforms. Still today, the Harlequin uniform is quartered  much like an original Harlequin.

It was often seen as a comedy character who would use slapstick comedy to entertain. They became popular in England in the 1800s and so this is where the name would have come from when Harlequins Rugby Club was formed.

Where do Harlequins Rugby Train?

Harlequins rugby are based in West London. Rugby teams are getting more and more professional so Harlequins needed to find a professional training venue. They therefore decided to train at the Surrey Sports Park.

The Surrey Sports Park was opened in April 2010, built by the University of Surrey. The sports park has become a sporting hub of the South East of Britain. With its close location to London, it is the perfect location for Harlequins. The Sports park has a huge range of world class facilities including Olympic standard weights areas as well as giving Harlequins their own dedicated outdoor facilities. Surrey Sports Park has also hosted a huge amount of different world class sport, hosting the 2010 Women’s Rugby World cup as well as being the training base for five different national teams for the 2015 Men’s Rugby World Cup.

Do Harlequins have a head coach?

The head coaching role is crucial in rugby, so of course Harlequins have a head coach. The team was in turmoil when director of rugby Paul Gustard left in January of 2021. After winning the title five months later, Harlequins announced that Tabai Matson would be the clubs head coach for the 2021-22 season.

Tabai Matson is a former rugby player himself, having played for current premiership team London Irish in his playing days. Matson began coaching in 2005, beginning his coaching career in Japan. Having worked in his home country of New Zealand, his first move to Europe was becoming Bath head coach in 2016. Having left the role a year later, Matson returned to New Zealand with the Chiefs before leaving in September 2020. He would then become head coach of Harlequins in June of 2021, a role he still holds today.

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