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Sunday, January 08, 2006


Rugby Personalities: South Africa meets the Austrian Tyrol

By: Rasputin

In our continual quest at Rugga World to provide interesting rugby snippets at all levels, from schools to international level, today we introduce you to Rugby Club Innsbruck in the beautiful Austrian mountains.

Rugby Club Innsbruck (RCI) was started in 1997 by a Kiwi (Bernhard Millen), a Frenchman (Michael Magne) and our very own Capetonian South African, Johann 'Jo' Trojer. In a follow-up article Jo will present what it is that he requires from his loose forwards, it makes for a very interesting read, don't miss it!

Jo Trojer was born whilst his parents were back-packing through Europe. On their return to South Africa he grew up variously in Barrydale, Cape Town and Johannesburg although he is a Capetonian through and through and supports his beloved Western Province and Stormers through thick and thin. Given his conception it is no suprise that he, in turn, chose to go do a bit of back-packing through Europe and, as happens, inevitably met a girl, now his wife, in Innsbruck. The rest, as they say, is history!

Jo took up employment with a major international snow sports company but never lost his love for rugby and was determined to do something about it. Through dedication and hard work, Jo is now an IRB Level 2 referee & Level 1 coach. Additionally he is the President and Coach of RCI. As if that wasn't enough, in 2005 he was appointed National Austrian Coach/Manager of their Sevens team!

From very humble beginnings, and despite the uphill slog of trying to introduce a 'niche' sport into an area, indeed country, with little to no traditional support for rugby, RCI have weathered the various storms and gone from strength to strength.

With regards the club's goals, Jo has this to say, "We started playing in the Austrian 1st league for the first time this season (2005/2006) and at the half way mark we are 2nd behind last seasons champions RC Donau (The only game RCI have lost this season was to RC Donau)."

"We play in the 2nd league as well which is run as a sevens competition and we are unbeaten in this league as well. We started off our first season in the league with the goal of reaching the semi's but now I want a home semi and a spot in the final!!! We can even win the title with a bit of luck..."

The difficulties faced by the founders of the club should not be underestimated, the Austrian Tyrol is not a world renowned alpine sports area for nothing! In the past fields have had to be fashioned out of meadows, soccer posts taken down to be replaced by rugby poles and, tediously, the reverse after the match! Travelling distances can be far and it is all done mostly by vehicle and it is all done for the love of rugby, with little current financial assistance in comparison to more illustrious traditional rugby countries and scant hope of earning a living from playing!

Luckily, the RCI have had dedicated administrators and helpful sponsors at crucial stages.

RCI have gained a very international flavour over the years, benefitting from exchange students and various SH, French, English and other players wanting to experience the thrill of living in such a beautiful region for a while.

Jo is always interested in hearing from players who plan to visit the region, or indeed stay in the region for a while, and can be contacted on

The club have a very interesting website which is well worth a visit and can be accessed at

Don't miss Jo's follow-up article on what he expects from his loosies! No doubt Jo will keep us informed of developments at RCI and within Austrian rugby itself.
Way to go, Jo!

Sounds like you guys are comfortably exceeding your own goals.
PA, you'll be delighted to note Jo is a WP & Stormers fan!  
Thanks Ras, it has been a great season so far but it will get tougher from here on in. All the teams had a look at us and will be better prepared the next time we meet. All we can do now is execute our game plan with more precision to keep up the success rate.
Stormers: I am not too confident about our chances this coming S14 but just hope we stay above the Sharks.
Hehehe, Jo, don't give that mad Russian, St PetersburgBok, any more ammunition to gun for us poor Stormers!!  
By the way, Jo, if you get the chance, you have a question under your 'loose forward role' thread from DavidS.  
Hello JO.welcome to this place of complete insanity,yes please do not feed the Rusky,the guy is just mean @ the best of times.Ras and i have a friend you need to meet,thatll come later,he is still on leave,  
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