World Rugby Shop was founded out of love for the game, the rugby culture, and the rugby community. You’ve probably heard the quote, ‘Rugby is not just a sport, it is way of life,’ and if you’re a player, you understand that the values of the game, such as discipline, team work, respect, sportsmanship, and fun, seep into all areas of your life. Traces of the game are seen in all you do. Once this happens, rugby becomes a passion and a way of life that’s impossible to avoid encouraging in others. Such is the story of our founder and the inception of .
In his youth and early adulthood, Rugby became Bernard Frei’s way of life. At age 10, he was introduced to rugby at school, by the De La Salle Brothers of St Joseph’s College. There, his love for the sport was cultivated. After the UK, he went on to play in France, Australia and the United States.
In 1998, Frei followed his heart and moved from Sydney, Australia to Birmingham, Alabama. Struggling to find the right boots in the United States, he called a friend in Japan to get the pair of the Mizuno cleats he needed.
This endeavor sparked something - a thought that others must also be seeking connections to the world-wide game. A few of his playing mates asked Frei to help them find jerseys and other gear, and from there the idea of an online community and shopping destination was formed.
In 1998, RugbyRugby.com, an online community meeting place and source for rugby news and scores, was established, shortly followed by the founding of World Rugby Shop.
World Rugby Shop is Founded
The World Rugby Shop seed was planted with a mission to enhance the game, by providing the best quality products and education to American players, coaches and fans. Since the beginning, that mission, purpose, and ambition have remained at the core of who we are.
World Rugby Shop quickly recognized that the endeavor would be most successful with collaboration, so the team solicited the advice of Scott Compton, who helped run USA Rugby, and Jack Clark, legendary coach who at the time ran the US national team, as well as its supporting organization. They also instigated a partnership between WRS and USA Rugby that has lasted over twenty years.
Now, in the midst of the pandemic, after five world cups, one burglary, one un-official and (incontinent) office dog, three tornadoes and a hurricane, a hundred holiday nights spent in the warehouse, a body in the fridge (it’s a long story, he lived), two employees living in the office, five office moves, too many sense of humor failures, a few sackings (but thankfully not many), an enduring team spirit, one incredibly tolerant wife, bucket loads of sweat, some blood, and a few tears but a lot more laughs - We're still here.
Today, WRS is recognized as the leading rugby retailer in North America and the go-to for officially licensed products designed for professionals, teams, and fans around the world. We outfit squads from the National pitch to amateur levels of all ages, as well coaches and referees. Of the 31 US National Men’s Team players on the 2019 World Cup roster, 28 were our customers. The brand that started as a single-person operation now counts the game’s biggest teams, players, tournaments and brands as its partners.
World Rugby Shop’s Commitment to Customers
To our players, coaches, administrators, clubs, schools, lovers of the game and rugby family members:
Nothing matters more to us than our relationship with you. We’re honored to support you by providing access to the products you need to become better players, smarter coaches and more passionate fans. Our mission is to help you reach your specific goals in the sport of rugby.
World Rugby Shop wasn’t ever a business opportunity. It was a mission. The company was created to connect the rugby community and to make it easier for athletes of all ages to play at a higher level of rugby in America.
Rugby is our way of life. We love the game and we value the principles it teaches. Therefore, we support anything that allows more people to engage the sport and experience its ability to enhance lives.
From humble beginnings, World Rugby Shop has gone on to make a business out of a passion. We feel extremely grateful and very lucky to have you as our customer. It’s a very simple formula: we’ll sort the gear, you bring your game.