East Arnhem Rugby Union


The East Arnhem Rugby Union (EARU) is located in the Mining township of Nhulunbuy, on the Gove Penninsula, East Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern Territory.

The EARU is a small organisation based in a very remote part of Australia, but it is at the forefront of rugby union's efforts to involve Aboriginal people. The Yolngu people of East Arnhem Land have adapted well to Australian Rules Football. Now that talent is being seen in rugby union.

The EARU participates in a number of rugby sevens competitions around Australia and in Singapore.

A Golden Oldies organisation has been competing out of Nhulunbuy for many years and Senior 7's Teams have travelled to various Tournaments, firstly under the name of Gove Rugby.

In 2004 a committee was formed and the East Arnhem Rugby Union was created in order to provide Rugby Union as a structured sport in Nhulunbuy.

A TRYRUGBY series was set up and through the interest created Rugby Union has been a feature of Nhulunbuy's sporting calendar ever since.

A Junior Competition is played during the Dry Season from April through August. Trainings are held at Hindle Oval on Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30pm. Games are held on Saturday from 5:00pm onwards.

The EARU provides competition for Senior Players by entering in 7's Tournaments. The EARU attends the Singapore Cricket Club 7s and The Hottest 7's in the World' Tournaments annually.

Since 2005 the EARU has provided players to the Northern Territory Rugby Union for both Junior and Senior Representative duties. In 2008 no fewer than 12 EARU players have gone on to interstate competition.

The EARU not only provides structured sport for the community but it has also organised Community Events.

After the success of the TryRugby Program the EARU hosted a Rugby Union Evening and was visited by former Wallabies Glen and Gary Ella. Accompanying them was former England B and Bath Identity, Kris di Scossa.


The Hon. Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health

Mr Warren Snowdon has been Patron of the EARU since 2006, when he attended the EARU Rugby Union Dinner which was attended by Wallaby Chris Latham.

Mr Snowdon is a founding father of Rugby Union in the Northern Territory and was involved in its birth through the attendance of firstly social meetings by Rugby enthusiasts and then competitive games.

Mr Snowdon is the federal member for the electorate of Lingiari and is the Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health.

The EARU is proud to have The Hon. Warren Snowdon as its first Patron.  


he East Arnhem Rugby Union has provided senior rugby union competition by means of sending teams to contest 7's Rugby Tournaments in Darwin and Singapore. The following is a brief history of EARU Teams that have competed in these two prestigous events since 2003.

DARWIN - Hottest 7's in the World

2003: The Gove Rugby Team attended its first tournament in January,2003. The team gained a reputation for its aggressive defence and through former Randwick and St George (NRL) hardman Colin Saukuru and Brisbane 1st Grader Lai Tora, were able to take the the first time entrant to the semi-final stages of the Croc Division. It was eventually eliminated by the Potoroos Team from Brisbane. It proved a hard fought match and a peice of magic from Peter Hewitt(NSW Waratahs) ended the Gove Teams dream run. A highlight for the Tournament was the form of Shaun Boyd, 16, who would go on to make the Australian Schoolboys.

2004: In 2004, Gove again entered the Darwin Australia Day 7's and brought a youthful looking Nhulunbuy Team. Gove's defence again created problems for other teams and it found its way to the Croc semi-finals once more. A brave effort on a mud laden Rugby Park was quelled by the Lloyd McDermott Indigenous Representative Team, and finals rugby in Darwin again eluded Gove Rugby.Player of the Tournament was Haimona Boyd.

2005: A cash injection into NT Rugby and a new tournament name, Hottest 7's in the World, attracted a class feild to Darwin in 2005. Perhaps the EARU's finest moment came during pool play on Day 1. A massive effort by the EARU saw it go down in a heart breaking loss to the Japanese National Team 19-17. The manner in which this game was played earned the Nhulunbuy based team an enormous amount of respect in Rugby circles, and the team was clapped off the feild by the onlooking Australian Team. It was Australia that ended the EARU's involvment in the tournament by way of a 30-0 loss. However, the EARU was the highest ranked NT Team and only NT team to reach the Croc Division. Outstanding Player was the invitation player Damon Murphy who impressed enough to gain national selection a fortnight later.

2006: The EARU had the honour of playing the NZ 7's Champions Auckland in pool play. EARU again met Australia and found itself in the Buff Division. A loss to the Potoroos Team in the semi-final left the side with a feeling of lost opportunities. Outstanding player was Jimmy Watters, who improved to claim his starting position.

2007: A desire to do better against the Big Guns resulted in some hard training in the Tournament build-up however results weren't any easier to come by. The amount of class Teams that are attracted by the large sums of prize money make it unlikely for EARU to challenge for the Croc Division. This Tournament will be remembered for the comeback against the Southern Bulls. Down 19 - 0 at halftime, some Tommy Gunn magic inspired a EARU comeback and Hayden Rickard sealed the win on the hooter with a try. Again playing in the Buff Division it was another semi-final exit, this time against Ronin Impact. Player of the Tournament went to Billy Irvine.

2008: The team was again well prepared thanks to the help of former Auckland Manager Mattie Solomon. The large number of entrants saw the EARU play knockout rugby in its first game. A loss to Campbelltown Harlequins meant the team would play in the Barra Division. The EARU had its way with the Darwin Club Teams and met Alice Springs in the Barra Final. A 19-7 loss was registered, however, NT Mosquitoes selectors were impressed by a number of players and Australian Shield Rugby beckoned.

2009: A mostly novice team was fielded by the EARU, and this was shown by a nervous loss to the Invitational Mosquitoes Squad. However, quick improvements and a greater execution of the match plan saw some memorable results with three very good wins. The Team was eliminated by the Andrew Walker led Darwin Dingoes in the Barra Quarter-Finals. The Tournament was used to rebuild the Senior Program and it is hoped the nucleus of the Team will remain together for the next three years.

Overall the EARU has been very competitve at this tournament.

SINGAPORE - Singapore Cricket Club 7's

2003: The Gove 7's Team entered the 2003 Tournament through former SCC 7's Tournament Winner Eddie Mulholland. Gove played outstanding rugby and became Bowl Champions. Glen Detenon was the Gove Player of the Tournament.

2004: Gove again entered the biggest Club 7's in Asia and an enthusiastic group headed to Singapore. Highlights for the trip were the horrendous injury to Simon Easter and Eddie Mulholland coming out of retirement to prove hes 'still got it' - Outstanding Player.

2005: A lack of numbers saw EARU bolstered by the British Army Germany and Alex Chew(EARU Singapore Resident). Injuries depleted the team and it lost its Bowl semi-final to Palmyra. Outstanding Performance went to Colin Saukuru, who ended up with his personal fan club and a particular fan from Trinidad and Tobago.

2006: EARU attended the tournament and was again boosted by imports. Also of note was the attendance of Markus Gaykamangu, the first Yolngu Player to travel with the EARU. The team had its colours lowered by fellow Territorians, Casuarina, in the Jug Final. Outstanding Performance went to Euan McConnell with Hayden Rickard providing the best post try celebration.

2007: The EARU had a great start to Day 1 with a competitive 0-14 result against the Hong Kong National Team. On day 2 the EARU had wins over Randwick and the Arabian Gulf National Team. It avenged its defeat by Casuarina the previous year to make the Bowl Final against the Singapore Barbarians. An hour before kick-off the heavens opened and the game was played on a water logged Padang Ground. The Baabaas played better wet weather rugby and the EARU was defeated but not disgraced. It was EARU's best effort since 2003. Outstanding were Tommy Gunn, Rhys Rudolph and Jack Reis.

2008: This tournament marked the first time that the EARU had progressed to the Plate Competition. Outstanding contributions from Sam Yakopo, Alex Haija and Tony O'Connor held the EARU in good stead. A Semi-Final loss to Impala, the Kenyan National Team in invitational colours meant the EARU's most successful SCC 7's. Special mention to Troy Watson and Eddie Mulholland whose hard work made the trip possible.

2009: In the EARU's 7th visit to the Padang, a Under 16 Team competed in the Singapore Secondary Schools Under 16 Rugby 7's. A tour party of 42 including Seniors, Juniors and Supporters made the pilgrimage to Singapore. The tournament created history with the Under 16 Team going undefeated and winning the John Clark Shield. Jack Tourish was named Player of the Tournament. In the Senior draw, tough games against South Africa Universities and Impala meant a win wasn't on the cards until crossing the Flying Kukris 21-10. Day 2 saw Indonesia Harimu dispatched before a bruising defensive effort secured a win over the fancied Southern Lions from Perth. The tournament ended with a 0-17 loss to old nemisis Casuarina in the Bowl Final. Sam Yakopo was player of the Tournament. Callum McDonald will be remembered for his "Don't Argue" on the SA Universities playmaker and Tommy Gunn kept the medical tent in business courtesy of two huge hits on the Southern Lions players.

The EARU enjoys its time playing rugby on the famous Padang and looks forward to many visits in the future.

Any players interested in playing rugby 7's with EARU are encouraged to contact us via the Contacts Link.