Category: Neath Rugby News

BANDFEST (Sunday 25th August) from 1.30pm at The Clubhouse

It’s non stop at the Gnoll at the moment!!

Next up is the incredible BANDFEST that just gets better and better every year! What a line up we have again this year!!!

See y’all Sunday for another classic!



Due to the need to place orders with the WRU for Six Nations tickets, both the Gold and Platinum Hospitality season ticket options are now CLOSED.

However, Neath RFC supporters may still buy standard season tickets at £80 and standard hospitality season tickets at £175 – application forms may be downloaded here and are available via the Clubhouse.

Once application forms have been completed, season tickets will be AVAILABLE FOR COLLECTION on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from the Dressing Room Stand (7.00-8.00pm) from September 3rd.


Neath built on their 33-5 win over London Welsh with a 7-try win over neighbouring Resolven who battled gamely for most of the proceedings and who, in truth, deserved better than the final scoreline suggests.

The Blacks made an unprecedented 14 changes to their starting line-up with lock Rhys Morgan the only survivor as the coaches gave opportunities to the many youngsters who have trained hard with the Welsh All Blacks over the summer. Brothers Steff and Iestyn Jones figured alongside each other in the front row and Dan Guarneri led the side.

The Blacks started strongly and took the lead with a try from a scrum by No.8 David Griggs after 12 minutes but there was an understandable lack of cohesion early on.

Resolven then enjoyed a good spell with skipper Niki Reed and No.8 Ashley Morgan leading the charge and ex-Neath and Aberavon star Richard Carter bringing his centres Joe Healey and Darren Bowen into play; in fact, they might very well have taken the lead had they not been recalled for a forward pass.

As Neath warmed to their task, No.8 Griggs again showed that he knows his way to the try-line popping up to score his second try which acting-captain Dan Guarneri goaled and, when the Neath backs got outside the visiting defence, a good run by speedy wing Ben Griffin saw full back Callum Hall touch down and Guarneri added the extras with a splendid kick from wide out.

Resolven were not done though and pressed hard on the Neath line but lock Morgan executed a perfect steal, the danger was averted and a turnover won by flanker Jordan Coxley saw Neath move the ball speedily and Hall bagged his second try for 24-nil.

As the game wore on, Resolven tired and tested the patience of the referee but Neath began to dominate. Sion Summers lost the ball over the line before Ben Griffin raced over for a fine corner try which replacement full back Luke Griffiths goaled from the touchline.

With their young forwards asserting themselves, Neath were now well on top and good work by replacements Calim Bowen and Macauley Griffiths set up a second chance for the sharp Ben Griffin’s second try, Luke Griffiths repeating his touchline trick for the conversion points.

On the stroke of time, centre Matthew Pearce showed his strength to collect the seventh try but Jordan Rees inexplicably missed the conversion with a drop-kick to end a useful work-out for both clubs which provided good entertainment for another healthy crowd which would have been the envy of several Premiership clubs.

Neath now move on to their next challenge against Swansea on Thursday, August 29th (7.15pm).

Starting line-ups :-
NEATH – C.Hall; B.Griffin, W.Holley, Jarrad Rees, J.Roberts; D.Guarneri (capt), G.Workman; G.W.Lloyd, I.Jones, S.Jones; D.Millard, R.Morgan; J.Coxley, D.Griggs, B.Lukes
RESOLVEN – N.Davies; C.Sandry, J.Healey, D.Bowen, K.Jones; R.Carter, N.Murphy; R.Jones, N.Reed (capt), J.Dowley; R.Davies, S.Martin; D.Stokes, A.Morgan, C.Pearce

Referee – Mr. S.Edwards (Abercrave)

Photo courtesy of @ValleyBoyPics


It is virtually all change for Neath who continue their pre-season build up when they entertain Resolven at The Gnoll on Tuesday evening (kick off – 7.00pm).

Coaches Pat Horgan, Matthew Jones and Andrew Howell have named a much-changed side to take on the Neath Valley club as they seek to involve all the squad who have trained hard over the summer.

Amidst 14 starting changes, only player to retain his place is hard-working lock Rhys Morgan while two places are left vacant pending permit confirmations.

Outside-half Dan Guarneri will lead the team for the first time and Pat Horgan said, “Everybody was pleased to start off with Saturday’s 33-5 win over London Welsh although a lot more work is clearly needed to bring us up to the standards expected of Neath RFC.

“This is an important step in our build-up and Resolven are a well-coached side who will test our resolve and ambition at this early stage.”

Neath v Resolven (Home) 7.00pm
15 Callum Hall; 14 James Roberts, 13 Jarrad Rees, 12 Will Holley, 11 A.N.Other; 10 Dan Guarneri (captain), 9 Geraint Workman; 1 Gareth Wyn Lloyd, 2 Iestyn Jones, 3 Steffan Jones; 4 Dafydd Millard, 5 Rhys Morgan; 6 Jordan Coxley, 8 A.N.Other, 7 Ben Lukes
Replacements – TBC


Neath will play an additional warm-up game against Resolven at The Gnoll next Tuesday (kick off 7.00pm).

The tie will be hot on the heels of their clash with London Welsh on Saturday (12 noon) and coach Patrick Horgan explained, “We have regularly had upwards of 30-40 players training with us over the summer and we need to see them all in action.”

“Tuesday’s team will differ greatly from Saturday’s so all players should get meaningful game-time to stake a claim for our squad heading into the season.”

NEATH 33 points LONDON WELSH 5 points

Neath opened the 2019/20 season by resuming links with London Welsh and ran out deserved five tries to one winners in a highly entertaining game at The Gnoll.

A healthy crowd was present to see the two “fallen giants” stir again and launch the new campaign with Neath’s new-look team expected to be fully extended by London Welsh who have gone unbeaten over two successive League promotions since they struck their own particular difficulties.

An enthralling game ensued with the Blacks generally on top although the Exiles often looked dangerous and it took last-ditch efforts to keep the visitors out. It is early to draw conclusions but Neath’s strong set piece got even better as the game went on while the rapidity of midfield passing was impressive if not always accurate. A solid front five will grow in vigour and evidently Neath have options in the back-row and in midfield.

Neath started purposefully and right wing Luke Griffiths nearly got in at the corner. The Blacks got turned over twice early on but, after three line-outs and three scrums on the visitors’ line, No.8 Scott Malone dabbed down for a pushover try to open the scoring.

Good work wide out by back rowers Blackmore and Malone set up a maul on the Exiles’ line and hooker Sion Crocker crossed for the second try which Luke Griffiths converted and, on the half hour, the winger added the points to a try of his own after he caught a perfectly-placed cross lick by outside half Jordan Rees. Before the break, the Exiles came close following a kick and chase but Luke Griffiths just got back in time to minor and Neath went in leading 19-nil.

Neath turned around to attack the Union End and, seven minutes after the re-start, Neath scrum strength saw Malone get his second try, replacement Dan Guarneri goaling.

A flurry of replacements saw Neath lose momentum and the Exiles hit back with a deserved try of their own by centre Ben Phillips after the Blacks twice over-ambitiously tried to run the ball out from behind their own try-line – such foibles are all very well for summer warm-ups but they will hopefully not be seen once the League starts !

Amidst more replacements, David Griggs who quickly distinguished himself with a couple of strong carries stretched to touch down from a scrum and Guarneri converted. That concluded the scoring but there were chances at either end, Jarrad Rees and Guarneri earning plaudits for their cover tackles – the kind of defensive resolution Neath will need… and expect.

Unusually, the Neath team was “serenaded” off the pitch by their opponents whose rendition of “Bread of Heaven” was appreciated by all and it rounded off a useful first outing for the Blacks who will realise that one win does not a winter make.

Starting line-ups :-
NEATH – A.Bramwell (capt); L.Griffiths, B.Atkins, M.Pearce, S.Summers; J.Rees, M.Griffiths; I.James, S.Crocker, L.Tobias; R.Morgan, J.Barley; J.Blackmore, S.Malone, J.Hill
LONDON WELSH – R.Dawes; O.Neme, R.Howells, B.Phillips, R. Tudor-Davies; L.Davies, E.Staines; M.Griffiths, A.Evans, J.Ringer; T.Baldwin, J.Williams; G.Morgan (capt), A.Black, R.Pixley

Referee – Mr. B. Breakspear (Abercynon) replaced by Mr. A.Cox

Photo courtesy of Len Kowalski of


Saturday is high noon for Neath who kick off the new season with an attractive home tie against London Welsh at The Gnoll on Saturday (kick off – midday).

Coaches Pat Horgan, Matthew Jones and Andrew Howell have named the side to take on the Exiles and it features many of those players who fought a backs to the wall mission last season when ownership woes derailed Neath’s season.

Two new wings figure in Luke Griffiths (Kenfig Hill) and South Wales Policeman Sion Summers who played for Newport last year. In the centre, there are welcome returns for Seven Sisters product Ben Atkins and Neath cricketer Matthew Pearce. The only newcomer in the pack will be at No.8 which is left vacant until the morning of the match.

Pat Horgan said, “We have had 30-40 players training regularly with us all summer and everyone has worked hard. We have another game against Resolven next Tuesday so we will have the opportunity to see most players in action over these two games.

“The boys are raring to go, itching for game action and it has been a question of holding some of them back a bit. Consolidation is the key but we hope we can challenge too as we need to get back to the high standards expected of Neath RFC.”

Neath v London Welsh (Home) 12 Noon
15 Aaron Bramwell; 14 Luke Griffiths, 13 Ben Atkins, 12 Matthew Pearce, 11 Sion Summers; 10 Jordan Rees, 9 Macauley Griffiths; 1 Ifan James, 2 Sion Crocker, 3 Liam Tobias; 4 Rhys Morgan, 5 Jon Barley; 6 Jacob Blackmore, 8 A.N. Other, 7 Jon Hill
Replacements TBC



It is a high noon kick off for Neath when they open the 2019/20 season with an attractive home clash against London Welsh at The Gnoll on Saturday.

The 12pm kick off will allow players and supporters to watch the Wales-England international afterwards but for Neath captain Aaron Bramwell there is no mistaking which is the important game on Saturday.

“Ours without a doubt”, he said, “After last season, we are raring to go with an exciting new squad who cannot wait to get into action.”

“London Welsh don’t often appear in South Wales these days and it should be a treat for genuine rugby supporters throughout the area.”

(Photo courtesy of Len Kowalski of @NeathTog)

Bramwell was in the squad when Neath last played London Welsh in 2011 in the British & Irish Cup when the Blacks beat the then professional Exiles 14-7 through two tries by centre Stephen Thomas, both being converted by outside-half David Langdon.

The only other survivor in the All Blacks’ ranks is back rower Leon Ward who made his debut that night.

Things have changed a lot since then – for both clubs ! – but Neath versus London Welsh is one of those classical rugby occasions which demands attention.

London Welsh are fighting their way back up the English league ladder and last season won a second successive promotion from London Division 3 North West losing only once.

Their player-coach is former Neath and Ospreys prop Cai Griffiths who is looking forward to returning to The Gnoll and he could have another ex-Neath man in the front row with him in Joel Ringer who has moved to London from RGC.

It is expected that the Neath team will be announced after training on Thursday.

Match Details :-
Kick off – 12 Noon
Admission – Adults £5, Under-16’s FREE
Hospitality – Tel. 01639 643328


Neath RFC will open the 2019/20 season against London Welsh at The Gnoll on Saturday. (kick off 12 noon).

The two clubs have enjoyed each other’s company and here are some highlights and oddities :-

• In 1885, Neath medical student A.E. Kempthorne was nominated captain of the new London Welsh club.
• The first fixture between the clubs took place at Neath on Monday, December 22nd, 1890
• A layering of snow covered a rock hard pitch but the sides braved the conditions and the first match ended honours even and scoreless.
• In 1908, Australian international D.B. (Danny) Carroll turned out for Neath in the 15-3 win against London Welsh who fielded three tourists (McIntyre, Craig and Darby)
• A Neath man J. Milsom Rees became chairman of London Welsh and was appointed royal surgeon – he played centre for the Blacks when he was known as plain “Jack”.
• Eric Evans, Bill Perry and Arthur Hopkins scored tries when Neath won the first fixture after the Great War 9-4 on December 27th, 1919.
• And the first post-World War II match was won by Neath 9-3 – home tries by Ken Hardwick, Harold Parker and Rees Stephens.
• The 1953 match in London was refereed by one Denis Thatcher whose wife became the UK’s first woman Prime Minister in 1979.
• For many years, Neath hosted London Welsh on Christmas Day – the last of those games took place in 1965, London Welsh winning 6-3.
• In 1966, the game was played on Christmas Eve (a Saturday), Neath turning the tables to win 6-3.
• The sides last met on February 25th, 2011 when the Blacks beat the Exiles 14-7.
• Lyn Jones, Rowland Phillips and now Cai Griffiths have coached London Welsh.

Since that first meeting in 1890, Neath and London Welsh have enjoyed a healthy rivalry – may the entertainment continue on Saturday !


Match Details :-
Kick off – 12 Noon
Admission – Adults £5, Under-16’s FREE
Hospitality – Tel. 01639 643328


Due to the need to place orders with the WRU for Six Nations tickets, both the Gold and Platinum Hospitality season ticket options are now CLOSED.

However, Neath RFC supporters may still buy standard season tickets at £80 and standard hospitality season tickets at £175 – application forms may be downloaded here and are available via the Clubhouse.

Once application forms have been completed, season tickets will be AVAILABLE FOR COLLECTION on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from the Dressing Room Stand (7.00-8.00pm) from September 3rd.