Neath RFC

Last updated

Neath RFC
Maltese-cross-high-res-NEATH-RFC-LARGE TEXT-250h.jpg
Full nameNeath Rugby Football Club
Nickname(s)Welsh All Blacks
Founded1871 [1] :24
Location Neath, Wales
Ground(s) The Gnoll (Capacity: 7,500)
Coach(es)Patrick Horgan (Coach), Forwards Coach: Andy Howell
Captain(s)Aaron Bramwell
League(s) WRU Championship
Kit left arm.svg
Kit body.svg
Kit right arm.svg
Kit shorts.svg
Kit socks long.svg
Team kit
Official website
www.neathrfc.com

Neath Rugby Football Club (Welsh : Clwb Rygbi Castell-Nedd) is a Welsh rugby union club which plays in the WRU Championship. The club's home ground is The Gnoll, Neath. The team is known as the All Blacks because of the team colours: black with only a white cross pattée as an emblem. Neath RFC is the oldest rugby club in Wales, having been formed in 1871. They are feeder club to the Ospreys regional team.

Contents

History

Early history

The Gnoll. Home of Neath RFC The Gnoll - Neath RFC - geograph-2277123.jpg
The Gnoll. Home of Neath RFC

Neath Rugby Football club was established in 1871 by a consortium of ten enthusiasts, their captain at the time, T. P. Whittington would later play international rugby for Scotland in 1873. [1] :24

The club's nickname, 'The Welsh All Blacks', comes from their iconic strip of black jersey, shorts and socks with a white cross pattée. The origin of the team colours is not known for sure. Originally the club's players represented the team in various dark kits and the Cross pattée was introduced by one of their players, thought to have been E.C. Moxham, "to break the monotony". It is believed that the strip was later switched to the pure black kit as a mark of respect to player Dick Gordon, who died from injuries sustained on the field of play against Bridgend RFC in 1880.

On 12 June 1881, eleven teams met in the Castle Hotel, Neath to form what would be accepted as a Welsh rugby union. The founding clubs of the WFU (Welsh Football Union), as it was originally known, were Swansea C & FC, Pontypool RFC, Newport RFC, Merthyr RFC, Llanelli RFC, Bangor RFC, Brecon RFC, Cardiff RFC, Lampeter College, Llandovery College and Llandeilo RFC. [1] :24, 41 Strangely Neath RFC was not recorded as being present, even though the meeting took place in the town. It is unknown if this was an oversight by the committee to record the presence of the club, or if Neath RFC did not actually attend. One theory put forward is that the president, John Llewellyn and secretary, Sam Clark of the South Wales Football Union were both Neath men. By attending this new union they would be destroying the SWFU and therefore their own influence in the game. These wounds would soon heal and Neath joined the newly formed WFU in the 1882–83 season and would eventually become pivotal in the union's development, monopolizing the secretaryship from 1896 to 1955. [1] :44–45 Sam Clark would in turn become the first Welsh international from Neath RFC, playing in the second Wales game on 28 January 1882. In December 1882 it was decided to amalgamate Neath FC and Neath Abbey FC. [2]

In 1887/88 Neath RFC undertook their first tour of the northern English clubs, including Hartlepool, Manningham and Wortley. The next season Neath played host to Widnes on Christmas Day before undertaking a further northern tour taking on a further five teams in six days. During the 1890/91 season a South West England tour was introduced, which would later become an annual fixture facing clubs such as Bristol and London Welsh.

Martyn Davies holds a very special place in Welsh rugby history because he was captain of Neath in the club's centenary year of 1971/72 and it was he who became the first captain to hold aloft the Welsh Cup and to then carry it on its now customary "lap of honour" around the old Cardiff Arms Park.

2008/09 season

Their 2008/09 cup winning season, in which they claimed a victory over Llanelli at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. This was the first year since the cup name changed from Konica Minolta Cup to Swalec Cup.

2007/08 season

Their 2007/08 championship season, their fourth in succession, was overshadowed by the death of scrum-half of Gareth Jones, on 16 June 2008. Jones had been injured in a match against Cardiff RFC on 20 April. [3]

Club records

Neath RFC hold the world record for the number of points (1,917) and tries (345) accumulated in one season (47 Games). [4] This record was set during the 1988/89 season, it is also worth noting that a try was worth 4 points at the time the record was broken.

The record for the most tries scored in a game in the post-regional era (post 2002) is held by Richard Smith. In January 2010 against Kidwelly RFC Smith scored 7 tries. The pre-regional record of 6 tries is jointly held by Howie Jones (v Aberavon 1928/29), W.D. Williams (v B.P.Llandarcy 1949/50), Keith Maddocks (v Ebbw Vale 1956/57), Alan Edmunds (v Cross Keys 1989/90).

Organisation and finance

The company that runs Neath RFC is Neath Rugby Ltd.

The key lines from the Geraint Hawkes disqualification legal judgement Geraint Hawkes disqualification judgement, High Court, June 2015.jpg
The key lines from the Geraint Hawkes disqualification legal judgement

On 4 June 2015, Geraint Hawkes (Current chairman of Neath RFC and 50% owner of the club) was found to be "unfit to be concerned in the management of a company" by His Honour Judge Keyser Q.C. sitting as a Judge of the High Court (see para 68 of the judgement document) [5] He also decided that the evidence given by Hawkes was "deliberately false" (para 48 - see image).

On 1 July 2015 the judge confirmed the length of the disqualification, as reported by the BBC: "The owner of Neath RFC and his mother have been banned from being company directors for 10 years after failing to declare more than £1.5m in VAT. Geraint Hawkes, 48, and Janis Hawkes, 75, were given the ban at a hearing in Cardiff on Wednesday. Judge Andrew Keyser QC said the pair had been involved in a "serious case" of unpaid VAT. The decision followed a hearing in the High Court Chancery Division sitting in Cardiff last month." [6]

In an effort to generate more income at their home stadium The Gnoll, the club announced in late 2008, plans to share it with the town's football club Neath Athletic. [7] This football team ceased trading at the end of the 2011-12 season due to financial difficulties. [8]

Jardine Norton Ltd became the owners of Neath Rugby Ltd in January 2019. [9]

Club honours

Players and coaches

Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

PlayerPositionUnion
Ashleigh James Hooker Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Ronny Palumbo Fly-half Flag of Australia (converted).svg Australia
Andy Littlehales Hooker Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Gerwyn Price Hooker Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Jimmy Richards Hooker Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Ross Davies Prop Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Nicky Downs Prop Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Martin Jones Prop Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Emyr Wyn Lewis Prop Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Johnny Thomas Prop Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Neil Edwards Lock Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Euros Evans Lock Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Haydn Pugh Lock Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Ciaran Ruddock Lock IRFU flag.svg Ireland
John Bowd Flanker Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Andrew Llewellyn Flanker Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Lee Evans Flanker Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Gareth Gravell Number 8 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Nathan Bonner-Evans Number 8 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Nathan Thomas Number 8 Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
PlayerPositionUnion
Kevin Farrell Scrum-half Flag of New Zealand.svg New Zealand
Gareth James Scrum-half Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Matty James Fly-half Flag of New Zealand.svg New Zealand
Stephen Thomas Centre Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
David Evans Wing Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Wyll Black Wing Flag of the United States.svg United States
Dafydd Howells Wing Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Kevin James Wing Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Kristian Phillips Wing Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Liam Powell Wing Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Gareth King Fullback Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Wayne Mitchell Fullback Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales
Kevin Morgan Fullback Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg Wales

Notable former players

See also Category:Neath RFC players

These players have represented Neath and have been capped at international level:

  

Games played against international opposition

YearDateOpponentResultScoreTour
1908115 OctoberFlag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia Loss0–15 1908 Australian tour of the British Isles [1] :187 [10]
191219 DecemberFlag of South Africa.svg  South Africa Loss3–8 1912-13 South Africa rugby union tour
1931128 NovemberFlag of South Africa.svg  South Africa Loss3-8 1931–32 South Africa rugby union tour
1935114 DecemberFlag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand Loss3-13 1935-36 New Zealand tour
1947125 OctoberFlag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia Loss9-19 1947-48 Australia tour
1951117 NovemberFlag of South Africa.svg  South Africa Loss0-22 1951–52 South Africa rugby union tour
1954123 JanuaryFlag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand Loss5-11 1953–54 New Zealand tour
1957128 DecemberFlag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia Loss3-5 1957–58 Australia tour
19705 September Flag of Germany.svg West GermanyWin28–0
1973124 JanuaryFlag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand Loss3-43 1972-73 New Zealand tour
198315 OctoberFlag of Japan.svg  Japan Draw21-21 1983 Japan rugby union tour of Wales [11]
198731 OctoberFlag of the United States.svg  United States Loss6–15 1987 United States rugby union tour of Wales [12]
198925 OctoberFlag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand Loss15-26 1989 New Zealand tour [13]
199211 NovemberFlag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia Loss8-161992 Australia tour
19942 NovemberFlag of South Africa.svg  South Africa Loss13–16 1994-95 South Africa rugby union tour [14]
199525 OctoberFlag of Fiji.svg  Fiji Win30–221995 Fiji tour of Wales [15]
19974 JanuaryFlag of the United States.svg  United States Win39-15 1997 United States tour of Wales
200121 NovemberFlag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay Win29-32001 Uruguay rugby union tour of Wales

1 All these matches were played by a joint Neath/Aberavon team.

Neath Rugby Supporters Club

The Supporters Club was restarted at the end of the 2012–13 season, with the aim of providing a link between the fans and the club. [16] The 2013–14 season saw the first Neath Supporters Hall of Fame, an event intended to take place every season.

2014 inductees: TP Whittington, Brian Williams, Brian Thomas, Shane Williams, Steve Powell and Dai Morris

2015 inductees: Rees Stephens, Martyn Davies, Ron Waldron, Kevin Phillips and Gareth Llewellyn

Related Research Articles

Ospreys (rugby union)

The Ospreys, formerly the Neath-Swansea Ospreys is one of the four professional rugby union teams from Wales. They compete in the Pro14 and the European Rugby Champions Cup. The team formed as a result of Neath RFC and Swansea RFC combining to create a new merged entity, as part of the new regional structure of Welsh rugby, that began in 2003. They are also affiliated with a number of local semi-professional and amateur clubs, including Welsh Premier Division sides Aberavon RFC, Bridgend Ravens, and original founding clubs Neath and Swansea. The regional area represented by the team has widely become known for rugby purposes as 'Ospreylia'.

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) is the governing body of rugby union in the country of Wales, recognised by the sport's international governing body, World Rugby.

Pontypridd RFC

Pontypridd Rugby Football Club are a rugby union team from Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales. They compete in the Indigo Group Premiership, which they won for four consecutive seasons between 2012 and 2015, and the Specsavers National Cup which they have won on 6 occasions with the most recent being in 2014.

Rugby union in Wales

Rugby union in Wales is the national sport and is considered a large part of national culture. Rugby union is thought to have reached Wales in the 1850s, with the national body, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) being formed in 1881. Wales are considered to be one of the most successful national sides in Rugby Union, having won the most Six Nations Championships, as well as having reached 3 World Cup semi finals in 1987, 2011 and 2019, having finished 3rd in the inaugural competition and having finished 4th in 2011 in a repeat of the first third place play-off. The Welsh team of the 1970s is considered to be arguably the greatest national team of all time, prompting many experts in the game to suggest that had the Rugby World Cup existed during this period, Wales would be amongst the list of World Cup winners. Following their fourth-place finish in the latest World Cup, they are ranked 4th in the world, behind England but ahead of Ireland.

Cardiff RFC

Cardiff Rugby Football Club is a rugby union football club based in Cardiff, the capital city of Wales. The club was founded in 1876 and played their first few matches at Sophia Gardens, shortly after which relocating to Cardiff Arms Park where they have been based ever since.

Aberavon RFC is a rugby union club located in the Welsh town of Port Talbot, though the club's name refers to the older settlement of Aberavon which lies on the western side of the town.

Pontypool RFC

Pontypool Rugby Football Club is a Welsh rugby union team based in the town of Pontypool. They play in the WRU Championship and due to the regionalisation of Welsh rugby in 2003 Pontypool RFC is now a feeder club to The Dragons regional team. Pontypool play their home matches at Pontypool Park. Their traditional home kit is Red, White and Black hooped shirt and socks with white shorts, although they did gradually shift to wearing black shorts post-2003.

Bridgend Ravens Welsh rugby union football club

Bridgend Ravens are a semi-professional rugby union club based in Bridgend, South Wales.

The Gnoll

The Gnoll in Neath, Wales is a sports ground, with a capacity of 6,000. It is used primarily for rugby union and rugby league, although it has also been used previously for association football and cricket. The stadium has hosted international rugby matches, with it being the home ground of the Wales women's national rugby union team, and men's matches included one during the 2013 Rugby League World Cup against the Cook Islands.

Brian Richard Williams was a Welsh international rugby union player.

Lyn Jones is a former Wales international rugby union player, and now works as a coach. A flanker, Jones has experience at various different levels of the game, both as a player and a coach. Jones played most of his playing career for Neath RFC. He started his coaching career at the same club. He has coached professional clubs in Wales and England, and since 2018 has been head coach of the Russian national rugby union team.

Merthyr RFC is a Welsh rugby union club based in Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales. Merthyr RFC are members of the Welsh Rugby Union, playing in the Principality Premiership, and are a feeder club for the Cardiff Blues.

Tonna RFC

Tonna Rugby Football Club is a rugby union team from the village of Tonna, Wales, UK. Tonna RFC is a member of the Welsh Rugby Union and is a feeder club for the Ospreys.

Taibach Rugby Football Club are a Welsh rugby union club based in Taibach of Port Talbot in Wales, UK. The club is a member of the Welsh Rugby Union and is also a feeder club for the Ospreys.

Tom Arthur Rugby player

Tom Arthur was a Welsh international rugby union lock who played club rugby for Neath and was capped 18 times for Wales. A tough second row forward with a strong physique, Arthur was often criticised for being over-vigorous. Though his style of play was fairly typical for Welsh rugby at the time.

Corus Rugby Football Club was a Welsh rugby union clubs based in Port Talbot. It is now known as Tata Steel RFC, the club is a member of the Welsh Rugby Union and is a feeder club for the Ospreys.

Glamorgan County RFC is a Welsh rugby union club that manages an invitational team, known as Glamorgan that originally played rugby at county level. The team is made up of amateur players from sports clubs in the Glamorgan region and historically played matches against other county teams from Wales and England, and during the 20th century was a key fixture for touring international teams. Today the club manages Glamorgan's premier rugby union tournament, the Glamorgan County Silver Ball Trophy, and arranges invitational Glamorgan teams to face Welsh rugby clubs during celebrations, such as anniversaries.

Paul Morgan was a Welsh professional rugby union and rugby league footballer, rugby union coach and cricketer, born in Pencoed. He played club level rugby union (RU) for Pencoed RFC, London Welsh RFC, Whitland RFC, Aberavon RFC, Llanharan RFC, Bridgend Ravens, Maesteg RFC, as a Centre, i.e. number 12 or 13, representative level rugby league (RL) for Wales, and at club level for Aberavon Fighting Irish, Bridgend Blue Bulls, Celtic Crusaders, as a wing, or centre, i.e. number 2 or 5, or, 3 or 4, coached club level rugby union (RU) for Neath Athletic RFC, and Aberavon Quins RFC. and played cricket for Pencoed Cricket Club (captain).

The 1998–99 rebel season in rugby union occurred when two clubs affiliated to the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), Cardiff RFC and Swansea RFC, refused to play in the WRU-sanctioned Welsh Premier Division that season and instead opted to play friendly matches against clubs from the English Premiership. The two clubs' position came about after the WRU rejected requests by the club to pursue changes to the league structure in Welsh club rugby and in particular to set up a cross-border league involving other clubs in Britain, and the two clubs refused to sign up to a loyalty agreement with the WRU committing them to the current league setup.

Rugby Union has a long history in Wales. Today it holds tier one status with the IRB. However, compared to Scotland, England, and Ireland, it was a latecomer on the international scene, and was not initially successful. Rugby union is the national sport of Wales, and is a great influence on Welsh culture.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Smith, Dai; Williams, Gareth (1980). Fields of praise : the official history of the Welsh Rugby Union, 1881–1981. Cardiff: University of Wales Press on behalf of the Welsh Rugby Union. ISBN   0708307663. OCLC   7176127.
  2. https://newspapers.library.wales/view/3336568/3336571/15/football
  3. BBC News (16 June 2008). "Scrum-half dies after neck injury". BBC . Retrieved 16 June 2008.
  4. McWhirter, Matthews; Norris, Peter (1992). The Guinness book of records, 1993 (39th ed.). Middlesex, England: Guinness Publishing. ISBN   0851129781. OCLC   27123148.
  5. Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills v Hawkes, [2015] EWHC 1585 (Ch) (High Court of Justice04 June 2015).
  6. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-33347729
  7. BBC News (16 May 2008). "Rugby stadium makes soccer space". BBC . Retrieved 12 May 2008.
  8. "Neath FC wound up at High Court". BBC News. 28 May 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  9. "Neath RFC handed over to finance company as Mike Cuddy leaves club". BBC Sport. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  10. Rugby Relics website
  11. Jones, Stephen (September 1984). Rothman's Rugby Yearbook. 1984–85. Queen Anne Press. p. 50. ISBN   0356104486. OCLC   655598261.
  12. Jones, Stephen (1988). Rothman's Rugby Union Yearbook. 1988–89. Queen Anne Press. pp. 30–32. ISBN   0356158845. OCLC   655215926.
  13. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 November 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUzwdZYOsEU
  15. "Fiji Rugby Union.com". Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2008.
  16. http://neathrugbysupporters.com/2013/04/

Neath RFC: 1871–1945 – Mike Price ( ISBN   0-7524-2709-1, October 2002) Neath RFC: 1945–1996 – Mike Price ( ISBN   0-7524-3106-4, March 2004)