Please allow me to introduce myself to those I have not met. My name is Tom Billups and I was a hooker at the Stoop during the Dick Best and Andy Keast eras from 1996-1998. I retired from playing in 1999 and have since returned to America to coach the USA Eagles and am currently with the University of California, Berkeley.
Although I am embarrassingly late in sending this message, I wished to convey my appreciation for all your encouragement and support whilst I was at the club. Over the past 12 years I have reflected many times on the special moments I shared with Quins legends like Will Carling, Peter Winterbottom, Jason Leonard, Keith Wood, and Laurent Cabannes.
It was an exceptional time to be at the club and so it is with sadness that I have realized how few photo memories I have of that period. I therefore wondered whether I could ask for your help, for those who were at the Club, to see if anyone has any photos of me during my time at Quins please? I can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
I still follow Quins to this day and have been delighted that they have had such a successful season. As they say, once a Quin, always a Quin.
I was there at the time but have no pics! sorry!
hope some other posters can help out.
If you're ever at the Stoop pm before, would love to stand you a pint and hear some stories, i'm sure you have many to tell!
Remember the days well. I had a load of Quins programmes from that period (around about the time that they opened the "new" stand) but one of my lasting regrets is that I binned them all (together with every copy of Viz from issue 1!!) when I got divorced in 2001!
Hi Tom, my name is Nick Cross and I am part of the archives team. I will be at the club next week and will search through the photos to see what we have.
I will send you a separate email
think the Rising Sun still has a couple of your playing jerseys! I've enjoyed your writing in rugbyrugby.com. I liked the idea of signing NFL players who weren't good enough up for USA rugby, did that experiment ever work out? USA still seems a sleeping rugby giant from this side of the pond.
DOK - Thanks for your message. Yes, I believe the "Dan Lyle" and "Richard Tardits" experiments were successful but until recently the only thing USA Rugby could offer a crossover athlete was a tracksuit. Five month sevens contracts to a handful of athletes is a start. Remember though that the NFL minimum salary is north of $400,000 USD. The sevens contracts are about $20,000 USD.
While rugby will never replace the NFL or NBA in the American sporting landscape, there is room for our sport to improve it's footprint. The five Olympic rings mean a lot to the U.S. audience. Olympic success is critical to rugby growth in America.
Will look forward to buying you a pint in the Sun Inn next time I am in Richmond.
My memory stretches back to your time at the Stoop, and sadly I recall you having a bad neck injury - how is that now? Better, I hope.
On a positive note re USA rugby, I see them every year at the Hong Kong Sevens. They play some really good rugby, and teams don't take them lightly. Sadly there was no Todd Clever this year, as he always has a big impact.
Good luck with the quest to make rugby bigger there. A friend played a season at Dallas RFC and loved it. Seems like DOK's right, USA is a sleeping giant in rugby terms.
One other thing - (nerd alert!!! That's how I know this ) USA are still the reigning Olympic champions at 15-a-side rugby...
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