Neath RFC

Neath RFC
Neath RFC
Neath rfc badge.png
Full name Neath Rugby Football Club
Nickname(s) Welsh All Blacks, The Mourners
Founded 1871[1]
Location Neath, Wales
Ground(s) The Gnoll (Capacity: 7,500)
President Unknown
Coach(es) Wales Patrick Horgan
Captain(s) Unknown
League(s) Principality Premiership
2010–11 2nd[2]
Team kit
Official website
Neath RFC shop, 13 Old Market Street, Neath

Neath Rugby Football Club is a Welsh rugby union club which plays in the Welsh Premier Division. The club's home ground is The Gnoll, Neath. The first team is known as the Welsh 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.



Early history

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.[3]

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. Origally 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 the 12th 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.[4] 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.[5] Sam Clark would in turn become the first Welsh international from Neath RFC, playing in the second Wales game on 28 January 1882.

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.

2008/09 season

Their 2008/09 cup winning season, in which they claimed a mighty 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 June 16, 2008. Jones had been injured in a match against Cardiff RFC on April 20. [6]

Club records

Neath RFC hold the world record for the number of points (1,917) and tries (345) accumulated in one season (47 Games)[7]. 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

Neath RFC is now known as Neath Rugby Ltd and owns 50% of the Ospreys professional side.

In an effort to generate more income at their home stadium The Gnoll, the club announced in 2008, plans to share it with the town's football club Neath Athletic A.F.C..[8]

Club honours

  • Welsh Club Champions: 1909/10, 1910/11, 1928/29, 1933/34, 1934/35, 1946/47, 1966/67, 1986/87, 1988/89, 1989/90
  • Welsh Premier Division: 1990/91, 1995/96, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2009/10
  • Welsh Cup: 1971/72, 1988/89, 1989/90, 2003/04, 2007/08, 2008/09
  • Welsh Cup Finalists: 1983/84, 1987/88, 1992/93, 1995/96, 2000/01, 2005/06,
  • Snelling Sevens 1964, 1970
  • Principality Premiership Play Off Champions: 2009/2010

Players and coaches

Current squad

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

Player Position Union
Ross Davies Prop Wales Wales
Nicky Downs Prop Wales Wales
Martin Jones Prop Wales Wales
Emyr Wyn Lewis Prop Wales Wales
Craig Mitchell Prop Wales Wales
Johnny Thomas Prop Wales Wales
Ashleigh James Hooker Wales Wales
Andy Littlehales Hooker Wales Wales
Gerwyn Price Hooker Wales Wales
Jimmy Richards Hooker Wales Wales
Neil Edwards Lock Wales Wales
Euros Evans Lock Wales Wales
Haydn Pugh Lock Wales Wales
Ciaran Ruddock Lock Ireland Ireland
John Bowd Flanker Wales Wales
Andrew Llewellyn Flanker Wales Wales
Lee Evans Flanker Wales Wales
Gareth Gravell Number 8 Wales Wales
Nathan Bonner-Evans Number 8 Wales Wales
Nathan Thomas Number 8 Wales Wales
Player Position Union
Kevin Farrell Scrum-half New Zealand New Zealand
Gareth James Scrum-half Wales Wales
Matty James Fly-half New Zealand New Zealand
Matthew Jarvis Fly-half Wales Wales
Stephen Thomas Centre Wales Wales
David Evans Wing Wales Wales
Kevin James Wing Wales Wales
Kristian Phillips Wing Wales Wales
Liam Powell Wing Wales Wales
Gareth King Fullback Wales Wales
Wayne Mitchell Fullback Wales Wales
Kevin Morgan Fullback Wales Wales

Notable former players

See also Category:Neath RFC players

Games played against international opposition

Year Date Opponent Result Score Tour
19081 15 October  Australia Loss 0–15 1908 Australian tour of the British Isles[9][10]
1912 19 December  South Africa Loss 3–8 1912-13 South Africa rugby union tour
19311 28 November  South Africa Loss 3-8 1931–32 South Africa rugby union tour
19351 14 December  New Zealand Loss 3-13 1935-36 New Zealand tour
19471 25 October  Australia Loss 9-19 1947-48 Australia tour
19511 17 November  South Africa Loss 0-22 1951–52 South Africa rugby union tour
19541 23 January  New Zealand Loss 5-11 1953–54 New Zealand tour
19571 28 December  Australia Loss 3-5 1957–58 Australia tour
1970 5 September West Germany West Germany Win 28–0
19731 24 January  New Zealand Loss 3-43 1972-73 New Zealand tour
1987 31 October  United States Loss 6–15 1987 United States rugby union tour of Wales[11]
1989 25 October  New Zealand Loss 15-26 1989 New Zealand tour[12]
1992 11 November  Australia Loss 8-16 1992 Australia tour
1994 2 November  South Africa Loss 13–16 1994-95 South Africa rugby union tour[13]
1995 25 October  Fiji Win 30–22 1995 Fiji tour of Wales[14]

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


  1. ^ Fields of Praise, The Official History of the Welsh Rugby Union 1881–1981 pp24, David Smith, Gareth Williams (1980) ISBN 0708307663
  2. ^ WRU Official Site - Sourced 28 August 2011
  3. ^ Fields of Praise, The Official History of the Welsh Rugby Union 1881–1981 pp24, David Smith, Gareth Williams (1980) ISBN 0708307663
  4. ^ Fields of Praise, The Official History of the Welsh Rugby Union 1881–1981 pp24, David Smith pp41, Gareth Williams (1980) ISBN 0708307663
  5. ^ Fields of Praise, The Official History of the Welsh Rugby Union 1881–1981 pp44-45, David Smith, Gareth Williams (1980) ISBN 0708307663
  6. ^ BBC News (2008-06-16). "Scrum-half dies after neck injury". BBC. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  7. ^ The 1993 Guinness Book of Records ISBN 0851129781
  8. ^ BBC News (2008-05-16). "Rugby stadium makes soccer space". BBC. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  9. ^ Fields of Praise, The Official History of the Welsh Rugby Union 1881–1981, David Smith, Gareth Williams (1980) pp187 ISBN 0780307663
  10. ^ Rugby Relics website
  11. ^ Jones, Stephen (1988). Rothmans Rugby Union Yearbook 1988–89. Queen Anne Press. pp. 30–32. ISBN 0356158845. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Fiji Rugby

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)

External links

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