The Austin Huns rugby club is one of the biggest clubs in Texas. It has men’s teams in all three national divisions and a fast-growing youth program for boys and girls. The club runs a 7s team, and hosts popular Sevens and Touch Rugby weekend festivals.
There is a close connection between the Huns and the Austin Valkyries, a first-class women’s rugby club.
Where Are The Austin Huns Training Fields?
The Austin Huns train and play home games at Huns Field in North East Austin.
The address is 4107 Nixon Lane, Austin, TX 78724.
Men’s training is usually on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Check out their Facebook group with the latest news about training.
Austin Huns Men’s Teams
The Austin Huns have men’s teams in every division. Historically, the club hasn’t been as successful as their city rivals, the Austin Blacks. And the Huns have had a few lean seasons at the top level. But in recent years, they turned their fortunes around.
The first team had some tough seasons until 2017 when they won the final of the Men’s Championship.
There were a lot of distractions off the field in 2018 when the club dabbled with professional rugby. I’ll cover that in a later section, and will mention here that the results that year for the amateur team weren’t great.
But the 2019/2020 season saw a great run of games. The Austin Huns placed second in the D1 league.
The D2 team finished mid-table in 2019/20. They were disappointed, but it’s a respectable position to build for the future.
The Division 3 side finished an impressive second in the 2019/2020 league table.
Sometimes, success at D3 level is an indicator that a club isn’t a great choice for newcomers without a rugby background. But that is far from the case with the Austin Huns.
The Austin Huns genuinely welcome all new members, regardless of rugby background. They put great emphasis on inclusivity as part of the club philosophy.
The D3 side has a good mix of “developing” players who are new to rugby. They get to learn from and play side by side with the “veterans” i.e. older players who are winding down.
Youth Programs At The Austin Huns
The club has an outstanding youth program. Alex Rees, of the Austin Rugby Podcast, called it one of the best in the country.
There’s been major growth in youth participation at the club. 127 youths registered for the 2018/2019 season, and that jumped to 167 the following season. That let the club run both a junior high and a high school team.
The younger kids play flag or tag rugby, as a non-contact version of the sport. This level is co-ed, with girls and boys mixed in together.
Middle school and high school grades play contact rugby with an emphasis on safety in the tackle. Girls and boys play separately.
The coaches are volunteers and tend to be veteran players. They run a mix of practice and match sessions on Saturday mornings.
Austin Huns Sevens Rugby
The Huns have a long tradition of sevens involvement.
They run a popular annual tournament called Bloodfest Sevens in the summer. It’s great fun to attend, and they’ll always appreciate volunteers to provide support on the day.
The Huns 7s teams play in various tournaments in Texas and further afield. The TOLA 7s series includes Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas along with the Lone Star State.
Does The Club Have Women’s Teams?
If you’re looking for a club for girls to play at youth level, then the Austin Huns are a great option. Check out our earlier section on Youth Rugby at the Huns.
The Huns are a men’s club when it comes to adult fifteens rugby. But they are closely connected to the Austin Valkyries, the Texas women’s rugby club. Luis Sanchez, the Huns director of rugby, is also the coach of the Valkyries.
So, if you’re looking to get into the women’s game, I suggest you check out the Valks.
The Austin Huns Coach
Adam Scheidler is the current coach of the Austin Huns. He has a longstanding connection with the club, having joined as a player back in 2008. Adam played scrum-half and overlapped with club president Luis “Wheezy” Sanchez’s tenure as out-half.
Adam also played 7s for the Huns and went on to coach the club sevens squad.
Adam took the coaching position at fifteens when the Division 1 team hit a very rocky patch. He worked with them through a losing season and saw great success the following year. So, he’s already seen the lows and the highs in this early stage of his coaching career.
Supporting The Austin Huns
Going to home games as a supporter is a fun and family-friendly experience. There’ll be a food truck for hot dogs and other snacks, and you can bring your own beer.
The club is trying different innovations to make the experience even more child-friendly. A recent addition for home matches is a playscape between the bleachers.
The Rebellious History Of The Austin Huns
I was amused to see the city website, Austin.com, refer to the Huns as the first rugby club in Austin. It’s actually the second!
The new outfit was formed in 1972 as a breakaway from the Austin Rugby Football Club, better known as the Austin Blacks.
The first Austin RFC had a first and second team in its early years. The first team was the Blacks, and the second team was the Golds.
A charismatic young Texan called Pat Lochridge first encountered rugby as a youngster in Buenos Aires, where his father was working. He later joined the Austin RFC in his college years.
Pat had a strong dislike for internal politics and strife, and there were some aspects of the rugby club which irked him. When he returned to Argentina for a climbing trip, he dreamed up the idea of a new and inclusive club.
Pat persuaded several Golds players (the second team) to join him and form the Austin Huns in 1978. His mark on the club includes the blue and white jerseys. This also ties back to Argentina.
Blue And White
I got the gist of this story from listening to an interview with Bill Overton, a longstanding club member. He recounted the legendary origins of the San Isidro Club of Buenos Aires. This goes back to 1935 and an after-match dinner.
A player from the away team spilled wine on his pants, and the committee members of his own club told him to leave. The guy calmly removed his pants and continued to eat his dinner. As the blazers remonstrated with him, his teammates took off their own pants in solidarity.
All the offending players were booted out of the club. They went on to form the San Isidro club, which enjoyed great success. And to bring us back to a blue and white theme…their jersey had blue and white hoops.
Ribbing The Austin Blacks
The history of San Isidro is enough to inspire a young man who wants to start a rugby club. But Bill Overton pointed out that there was a little more to the story.
I mention in our guide to the Austin Blacks that the founder was Argentinian. There is no doubt that Carlos Puentes would have been very familiar with the story of San Isidro. And would immediately recognize the blue and white jerseys of the breakaway club!
Now, that’s throwing shade!
A Strange Encounter With Professionalism
In a major departure, the club announced in 2016 that it would transition toward professional rugby.
Professionalism was all the buzz in US rugby, and several teams got together to start a one-off series of matches in early 2017. These were “friendlies” sanctioned by USA Rugby, and the series was called the Major Rugby Championship.
This was effectively a warm-up for the advent of Major League Rugby, the professional league that kicked off the following year.
But the Huns took a complete turn of direction. They announced that they wouldn’t join the MLR, but would stay amateur instead. Several club officials, members, and players left the Huns to start a new outfit called the Austin Elite.
The Elite moniker lasted two years before they rebranded as the Austin Herd. Did you blink and miss the Herd? Yes, they soon changed their name to match an alcoholic cocktail that didn’t exist at the time. If you want to know more, check out our article on the name and ownership of the Austin Gilgronis.
What About The Austin Horde?
We’ve mentioned the spin-off Austin Elite, that went on to become the Austin Herd. And changed further to the AGs (Austin Gilgronis).
But when you’re looking at the club history, you may also see mention of the Austin Horde. Was that another exotic cocktail? No, not at all.
Back in earlier years of US rugby, the governing body wouldn’t allow a club to field three teams. The Austin Huns had a team in Division 1 and 2, and they wanted to field a team in the third division.
So they created a separate (but very connected) team called the Austin Horde. The Horde played in Division 3 for some years. Eventually, the rule was dropped, and it could simply be the Austin Huns thirds.
Website And Social Media
This is the club website.
Their Facebook group is probably the best way to get up-to-date news from the club. They also provide a running commentary of matches!