Category: Neath Rugby News


Midway through last season, lock forward IOAN JONES came on board at the height of Neath’s troubles – and has signed on for 2019/20.

Ioan has impressed everybody with his skills and appetite for work and, having held his own in the Premiership last year, he is eager to get to grips with the Championship.

Young Ioan Jones, son of former Neath captain Paul, who caught the eye with his aggression and ball-carrying in the loose in 14 appearances last term. Ioan’s rugby education lies very much in the Neath area from Neath Schools through and he said, “I am very proud to sign for Neath which is one of the biggest clubs in Welsh rugby. The history of the club speaks for itself and it has been a big part of my life – as a child I used to go to watch my father train and play.

“Our aim must be to ensure that we’ll get as much success in the future as the club has in the past. I’m really looking forward to the coming season.”

Photos courtesy of Len Kowalski of @NeathTog


Midway through last season, lock forward SCOTT DAVIES came on board at the height of Neath’s troubles – and has signed on for 2019/20.

Scott has impressed everybody with his skills and appetite for work and, having held his own in the Premiership last year, he is eager to get to grips with the Championship.

Scott made 12 appearances for Neath after joining from Tata Steel last January and he said, “I am really happy to have signed for a club like Neath with all its history.

“I am looking forward to the challenge of next year and getting the club back to where it deserves to be for the town and also for supporters who stuck with the team when the going got very tough last year.”

Photo courtesy of Len Kowalski of @NeathTog


Photo courtesy of Len Kowalski of @NeathTog

Neath’s top points scorer of 2018/19 Callum Hall is staying at The Gnoll next season.

The Mountain Ash product registered 115 points last season from 20 starts after joining in September and he is looking forward to adding many more to his tally.

The 22 year old outside half’s lengthy left-footed kicking will be a bonus to the Blacks when they start preparations next month for the new season.

Callum said, “I am really pleased to get another opportunity to play for such a historical club like Neath. I am looking forward to next season when I hope we can get back to winning ways and build the club back up into challenging again for the Premiership.”


Neath RFC may have been relegated from the Premiership after their season of ownership woes but the Welsh All Blacks still have something to celebrate as Craig Hill’s effort against Cross Keys in January has been voted “Premiership Try of the Season”.

Back in the bleak midwinter, the fractured Blacks put up a brave show against Keys and led for most of the game before Keys finished strongly to take the points.

Former Wales Sevens flanker Craig Hill put the finishing touches to a sweeping movement which featured a wonderful side-stepping run by Jordan Rees.

You can see the try here:

Craig is currently working in the USA but, when he is home next year, Blacks’ followers will be keen to see him in action again – by the way, Nicky Griffiths’ blind-side try in the same game was something special too !


Photos courtesy of Len Kowalski of  @neathtog

Neath winger James Roberts has signed for his third season at The Gnoll and is looking forward to being part of the Club’s revival.

Fast approaching his half century of appearances, Cimla-based James is hoping to get a lot more try-scoring chances as his game matures and, it must be said, he has not seen an awful lot of the ball compared with wings in better times.

But the Blacks believe the student flier who turned 22 in March has the speed and talent to find his way to the line and become a regular try-getter.

“Being a local boy, I know how much the Club means to the Town. I grew up supporting Neath and have enjoyed my two seasons at The Gnoll,” said James.

“I am very happy to sign on and help this team build and improve next season.”


Glen will have a private funeral next Wednesday, after which all his colleagues and friends are invited to the Neath Athletic RFC Clubhouse at 2.00pm.


Neath have re-signed big lock Jon Barley who was sidelined for most of last season due to a bicep injury.

Barley who stands at a formidable 6’6” is one of the stand-out figures on the Welsh club scene and the Blacks badly missed his considerable line-out presence last year.

The Aberdare product is one of the senior figures at The Gnoll now after last season’s defections and he had no hesitation in committing his future to the Blacks.

He said, “I’ve called Neath home for the last five years and the club has stuck by me during my recent injury.

“I want to return the favour and help get Neath back in the Premiership where we belong.

“We have a great bunch of players, the coaches and background staff are second to none and the fans have stuck by us proving again and again that they are the best supporters in the league.

“I have no doubt that the club is destined for great things again and I want to be part of it.”


London Welsh will visit Neath ahead of the 2019/20 season.

Neath have lined up attractive opponents for their first pre-season friendly with the Exiles of London Welsh visiting The Gnoll on Saturday, August 17th.

The match will kick off at noon to minimise disruption for the cricketers “next door” and to allow both teams and supporters to repair to the Clubhouse to watch the televised Wales-England World Cup warm-ups which kicks off at 2.15pm.

London Welsh are fighting their way back up the English league ladder and 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.

He said, “When I first came to South Wales, Neath was my first club and it will be great to come down and see so many old friends. Like Neath, London Welsh are on the way back after recent troubles and it will be a good test for both teams ahead of what will be a challenging season.”

Neath secretary Mike Price said, “The opportunity to play London Welsh again could not be missed as they do not play in Wales so often these days.

“Our clubs have a long relationship and Neath men were heavily involved in the creation of London Welsh in the 1880’s. After that, we enjoyed regular fixtures and I am young enough to just about remember my father taking me to The Gnoll to watch the last Christmas Day fixtures in the mid-Sixties.

“Cai was at The Gnoll recently for our Sponsors’ Lunch and it will be good to see him and them back at Neath. They have supporters across Wales and it will certainly be an interesting start to our new campaign and something special for our players to look forward to early on.”

NEATH v LONDON WELSH – The Gnoll – Saturday, August 17th – Noon Kick Off