Super Rugby


8/21/2017

Ballymore celebrates 50 years of Rugby


The Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) celebrated 50 years of competitive Rugby at Ballymore as University of Queensland lifted the Hospital Cup.

The QRU officially moved to Ballymore in February 1967 and began work on what would eventually become the McLean Stand.

By March, construction of the grandstand and change rooms was complete and Ballymore started preparing to host its first game of Rugby.

The ground hosted its official opening on the first weekend of April as Teachers took on Wests-Toowong and Brothers took on University.

Over 25 of the foundation players from that opening weekend attended a pre-match function in the Horsley Room at Ballymore.

The ‘Foundation Players’ from those opening weekend matches included luminaries of the game and future business leaders such as – David Crombie, Jim Lucey, Greg Dux, John Ryan, Lynn Crowley, Ray Meagher, Epi Bola, Dick McGruther, Michael Barry, Barry Honan, Dick Marks and Jules Guerassimoff, among others.

Guerassimoff had a decorated career in University, Queensland and Australian colours.

With a background in agricultural science, Guerassimoff played a role in the curation of the hallowed Ballymore turf and even mowed the grass ahead of the opening weekend.

“It’s the home of my Rugby career, particularly as I helped develop it from day one. It was like my own home ground,” Guerassimoff said.

“It really is the godsend that helped me achieve what I have in Rugby and being a participant in the development of the place is something I’m really proud of.”

Since that opening weekend, Ballymore has hosted thousands of matches, from juniors to internationals.

It was the scene of the British and Irish Lions first loss to a state side when Queensland secured a 15-11 win in 1971.

“Probably the biggest thing that happened was the day we beat the British Lions. Nobody anticipated it and they arrived in Brisbane expecting to win,” Guerrassimoff said.

“We were the only provisional side to beat them on that tour.”

In fact, the Lions played 26 matches over a three-month tour and lost just one other match. Against the All Blacks.

Over its’ 50 years, Ballymore has provided countless memories to Queensland Rugby fans.

The next chapter of Ballymore kicked off today as University of Queensland and GPS faced off in the premier grade grand final for the first time in 45 years.

Ballymore’s story kicks off this weekend as University of Queensland and GPS play in premier grade grand final for the first time in 45 years.