The Story of MARS Rugby (on Planet Earth)

Mars in CapeTown South Africa 1998

The Mid-Atlantic Rugby Side (MARS) was originally formed in the USA in 1977 after a group of Martians – who were part of the second Earth Planetary Exploration Party (aka EPEP) missed playing their beloved game – rugby. Rugby on the Planet Mars began nearly 300 years ago when during a traditional rock throwing game, one of the players who was tired of being hit in the head with a rock with a large amount of force, picked up the rock and ran with it towards his opponent.

As they scattered in fear of this ‘crazed Martian’ he touched it down on his own head to score….the rest was history.


Rugby - The Early Years on the Planet Mars

The Martians on Earth needed more players and so they enlisted them mainly from the Philadelphia area (their HQ) but also from a number of other Mid-Atlantic States. In this way the use of the name MARS had a double meaning. MARS toured the United Kingdom in 1977 with over 100 players of both Earth sexes. While the victories on the field were few, it was off the field they truly excelled and conquered all in their path. The earthly disguises used by the Martians were nearly perfect and no one ever realized that some were not from this Earth. If the truth must be told, then let it be told. In 1972 the first EPEP landed in a remote part of Scotland. They then split their forces throughout the UK to do better explore of this strange land.

When the time came to get together to discuss their finding later that year…they decided to get together as a rugby team and infiltrated the Barbarians organization. In January 1973, they took the pitch against the might New Zealand All-Blacks and while this match was to become known as “The Great Match” and produced “The Great Try”, the result was not a surprise to the Martians as their vast experience plus playing in the lesser gravitational field on Earth made them nearly invincible.


First MARS EPEP Team - 1973

With the success found as a result of “The Great Match”, the Martians realized that Earth offered a more unique experience than expected. So when the High Commander returned to Mars in 1976 to file his report, he was able to convince the High Council to send a second and even larger group to Earth in 1977. This time, the High Council decided to plans key operatives in a land known as the United States of America. Though many of the Martians sent were very athletic, they were under strict orders to never show their advanced rugby skills on Earth to avoid suspicion as their origins. Think about it…if all of a sudden the USA had this deluge of outstanding rugby players – seemingly from nowhere – the natural suspicion of Earthlings would be to believe they were aliens and where else could they be from…but Mars. So to this day, the USA rugby has had to learn to develop their rugby skills without the benefits of these elite Martian rugby players living in their midst. As you know, (sad to say) we’ve done our job well.

MARS – Cape Town Festival - 1998

Finally in 1985, the High Commander on Earth, J. Anthony Studdy (aka Tony), was given permission to enter the aging Martians in a Festival of Older Rugby Players and he entered a MARS team in the London Golden Oldies Rugby Festival. As a special gift to the hard work of the Mars EPEP, the players were allowed to remove the earth flesh tone on their face to reveal their natural green color during the Festival’s Opening Ceremony Parade of Teams. MARS was allowed to change its meaning to the Middle Aged Rugby Side which was more befitting this group in disguise as ‘middle aged’ Earthlings. Since then, MARS has been represented at every World GORF with the exception of Wellington in 2006. In 2005, Tony turned over his control of the MARS Earth Empire to the newly appointed High Commander, S. David Cohen (aka Steve).

Contact Steve Cohen
sdcohen4atmindspring [dot] com