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Neath Rugby Football Club is a Welsh rugby union club which plays in the Welsh Premier Division. The club's home ground is The Gnollmarker, Neathmarker. The first team is known as the Welsh All Blacks because of the team colours: black with only a white Maltese cross as an emblem. Neath RFC is the oldest rugby club in Wales having being 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.

The club's nickname, 'The Welsh All Blacks', comes from their iconic strip of black jersey, shorts and socks with a white Maltese cross. 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 Maltese cross 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, Neathmarker to form what would be accepted as a Welsh rugby union. The founding clubs of the WFU , as it was originally known, were Swansea C & FC, Pontypool RFC, Newport RFC, Merthyr RFC, Llanelli RFC, Bangor RFC, Brecon RFC, Cardiff RFC, Lampeter Collegemarker, Llandovery College and Llandeilo RFC. 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. 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 Hartlepoolmarker, 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.

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.

Club records

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

Organisation and finance

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

In an effort to improve their home stadium The Gnollmarker, the club announced in 2008, plans to share it with the town's football club Neath Athletic A.F.C..

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
  • 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

Players and coaches

Existing squad

Notable former players

See also :Category:Neath RFC players



Games played against international opposition

Year Date Opponent Result Score Tour
19081 October 15 Loss 0-15 1908 Australian tour of the British Isles
1912 December 19 Loss 3-8 1912-13 South Africa rugby union tour
1970 September 5 West Germany Win 28-0
1987 October 31 Loss 6-15 1987 United States rugby union tour of Wales
1995 October 25 Win 30-22 1995 Fiji tour of Wales
1 The 1908 Australia game was 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. Fields of Praise, The Official History of the Welsh Rugby Union 1881-1981 pp24, David Smith pp41, Gareth Williams (1980) ISBN 0708307663
  3. Fields of Praise, The Official History of the Welsh Rugby Union 1881-1981 pp44-45, David Smith, Gareth Williams (1980) ISBN 0708307663
  4. The 1993 Guinness Book of Records ISBN 0851129781
  5. Fields of Praise, The Official History of the Welsh Rugby Union 1881-1981, David Smith, Gareth Williams (1980) pp187 ISBN 0780307663
  6. Rugby Relics website
  7. 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)

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