To help while away the hours during the Covid-19 Crisis, why not have a go at our Neath RFC Fun Quiz.

Hugh Rice contacted us with these pics from Cardiff v Neath 1979 – only 41 years ago – asking to identify the players.

This has been done but we thought Neath supporters might like to have a crack too –

Email your answers to:

PIC 1 – The Neath tackler is :-



PIC 2 – Neath players are :-







Here’s a clue – it was the game Mike Messenger got sent off in.

Email your answers to:


Season 2019/20 has rightly been brought to an abrupt end – and the depth of the Coronavirus Crisis could not have led to any other outcome.

As regards next season (whenever it starts), the WRU has confirmed it will be “same again” with no promotion or relegation at the end of this.

For Neath, that means a 2019/20 fifth place finish behind Pontypool, Bargoed, Bedwas and Cardiff Metropolitan and we can have few arguments with that.

Compared with season’s past, 2019/20 was hardly vintage but, looking on the bright side, it was infinitely better than that “annus horribilis” of 2018/19.

There is a long way to go in terms of restoring pride and status but importantly Neath RFC is heading back in the right direction.

The season started with the first of three warm up wins. London Welsh were the visitors and, while warm August sunshine may have replaced the Christmas frost and snow which traditionally accompanied the fixture, a good time was had by all.

Anyway, it was nice to see the Exiles at The Gnoll, so too Resolven and Swansea and, into September, the side seemed in pretty good shape starting with wins over Trebanos in league and cup and against Ystrad Rhonnda.

Then came a hiding at Pontypool and the wheels rather came off in October with defeats by Bedwas, Cardiff Met and Maesteg Quins before back-to-back wins against Cross Keys, again in cup and league, and wins against Beddau, Ystalyfera and Tata Steel.

But the only consistent thing about the side was its inconsistency and defeats by Narberth, Ystrad Rhonnda and Pontypool were sandwiched by wins over Trebanos and – perhaps Neath’s best of the season – the victory at Bedwas (or to be precise, Ystrad Mynach).

It was probably the high spot although reaching the last eight of the WRU National Cup was an achievement in a year which ended badly with heavy home defeats by Bargoed and Cardiff Met. Still, supporters enjoyed visiting new (and old) haunts and will look forward to returning next year.

The coaches were as frustrated as anyone …probably more so. Next season, the inconsistency must be ironed out – and one area that must be remedied is the defence which leaked too easily and too often. A greater commitment to the tackle all round is called for !

For the record, in all games – league, cup and non-league – the Blacks played 24 games – the lowest in non-wartime seasons since 1889/90 when the later capped Dr. E.V. Pegge was captain. So Dr. Pegge meets Aaron Bramwell … hmm !

Of those 24 games, 14 were won and 10 lost and the Blacks scored 552 points with 513 against. 74 tries were scored with David Griggs (13), James Roberts (10) and Luke Griffiths (8) leading the way.

Jordan Rees (5) and Tomi Antozzi (4) were next ahead of Nicky Griffiths, Callum Hall, Scott Malone, Liam Tobias who scored three each.

Ben Atkins, Jacob Blackmore, Sion Crocker, Ben Griffin, Jon Hill, Elis Horgan and Matthew Pearce all bagged two while Macauley Griffiths, Dan Guarneri, Ifan James, Jake Lewis, Rhys Morgan, Ross Pritchard, Jarrad Rees, Ben Uphill crossed the line once.

All told, that is 24 try-scorers ! Few players failed to make the list which suggests the team has plenty of try-scoring potential.

49 conversions were kicked by Luke Griffiths (20), Callum Hall (14), Dan Guarneri (12), Jordan Rees (2) and Matthew Jones (1).

And 28 penalties were goaled by Luke Griffiths (16), Callum Hall (5), Dan Guarneri (3), Jordan Rees (3) and Iesyn Morgan (1).

Luke Griffiths (128) finished top points scorer with David Griggs (65), Callum Hall (58) and James Roberts (50) topping the half-century.

Off the field, progress was made. The Clubhouse has been given a makeover and was booming again until the Coronavirus Crisis forced a shutdown. As for The Gnoll itself, floodlights have been updated, a new outside catering block installed and a new scoreboard too. Above all, our playing surface remains the best and the envy of all visitors – from Bloemfontein to Dublin and all stops in between !

Our thanks go to everyone involved – players, coaches, medical and back-up team and all other helpers – no names as omissions might offend. In turn, the squad would thank the supporters who get behind the team in all weathers.

Now, as the country enters a prolonged period of Coronavirus Crisis, we must hope that everyone emerges unscathed and that we will all be back whenever rugby resumes.

While the WRU says it will be “same again”, things will probably never be quite that. From big to small, clubs’ outgoings will probably exceed income and, after the winter storms, some were already sailing close to the wind.

Even with the “forbearance” of the banks, money will not be as plentiful around the Game in future and people’s priorities will inevitably alter.

No rugby and no meetings mean I will be able to make up some of the headway lost during last season’s exigencies and crack on with the Club History.

With no “live rugby”, God willing, we’ll try to keep everyone informed, even entertained, via the web-site.

In the meantime, keep safe and keep well, everyone.

Mike Price
Rugby Secretary

Covid 19 Update – WRU Competitions Update



The WRU Board has today confirmed the cancellation of the 2019/20 season for all WRU competitions. This decision, informed by a comprehensive review of all league and cup competitions, was taken at a Board meeting held on Friday March 20th. For clarity this decision applies to all WRU cup and league competitions currently underway as well as the cross-border competition between Welsh and Scottish clubs due to kick off in April. In addition to rugby considerations, a presentation from medical staff addressed three key health and well-being factors:
• Continuing to play brings with it transmission risks for players, coaches, referees, volunteers and supporters
• Some competitions require medical support and doctors in attendance
• Continuing to play brings with it the risk of adding to the unprecedented burden on the NHS and it would be socially irresponsible to do this
A review of the competitions was also considered with the key points being:
• No team in any league is currently mathematically guaranteed promotion or relegation
• There are 1,113 WRU Specsavers National League and Indigo Group Premiership games that would need to be played to complete league competitions
• An absolute minimum of eight weeks would be required to complete the outstanding fixtures
A significant number of potential solutions were explored, but ultimately it was agreed that the only consistent and fair option is to cancel the season, meaning:
• There will be no promotion or relegation in any of the WRU leagues and teams will remain in the league they are currently in
• Rugby activity remains suspended until further notice and this includes no organised training or games, use of club gym facilities, organised sessions or unsanctioned gatherings at rugby premises.

‘We are well aware of the colossal amount of effort that goes into our game, on and off the field, across Wales,” said WRU CEO Martyn Phillips. “We did not take this decision lightly. It is not intended to in any way diminish the games that have already taken place or the efforts of everyone involved.

“We were particularly aware of the impact on clubs with the potential to be promoted or win competitions, but in the end we have had to make the decision to ensure we play our part in safeguarding Welsh communities. “We know clubs will be disappointed but also hope they will be understanding, given the circumstances.

“We know that rugby clubs are facing extraordinary challenges at the moment. “We will continue to look at all options to ensure the game in Wales emerges from this period and continues to play the vital role in Welsh life that it has for the last 140 years.”

Simon Rimmer WRU
Corporate Communications Manager



Following recent government advice, and in line with WHO guidelines, The Gnoll and the Clubhouse facility will be closed to the public until further notice.

Thanks to all the fans, sponsors, players and staff for their support and please stay safe.


As a result of the WRU’s emergency measure regarding Covid-19, Neath RFC can confirm the postponement of the scheduled Championship games against Glamorgan Wanderers (March 21) and Bargoed (March 28).

Also postponed is the WRU National Cup semi-final between Merthyr and Aberavon which was scheduled for The Gnoll on March 28.

We will continue to keep supporters updated via this website.



A magnificent second-half performance by Cardiff Met carried away the glory from a game which until half-time had seemed delicately poised and it left Neath with a whole lot more head-scratching.

On a cold evening, perfect for running rugby, the students, building towards their BUCS quarter-finals, clearly appreciated the immaculate Gnoll surface.

Neath ought to have gone in front but blew a five-metre line-out chance; instead it was the visitors who took the lead when outside half Evan Lloyd kicked a penalty and shortly afterwards he converted the first try of the game when the students exploited weak defence for a try by hooker Morgan Nelson.

The Blacks, playing into a strong wind, fought their way back and this time got a line-out right, lock Jacob Blackmore’s take and a concerted drive eventually leading to a rare try by prop Ben Uphill which winger Luke Griffiths converted superbly from the touchline.

Neath enjoyed a good spell up to half-time but could not break through and, at just 10-7 down, Neath would have been half-satisfied with their performance into the wind but what happened afterwards was a different story.

Despite having the vastly superior scrummage and the knowledge that their driving line-out would produce dividends, Neath failed to put into operation their coaches’ instructions and became suckered into an open, unstructured game which was made for the counter-attacking students.

Good to watch and very pleasing on the eye and Neath want to play it fast – but probably not against the students who have more ammunition in such a contest. After a superb chase-back tackle by young full back Iestyn Morgan had saved Neath’s bacon, a loose kick presented the Met with their first opportunity which wing Zach Clow eagerly accepted and then scrum-half Ethan McVeigh crossed, Lloyd converting both.

Neath responded with another driving line-out try by No.8 David Griggs which Luke Griffiths converted but the students hit back quickly with another try as Neath continually turned over ball. Poor Matthew Pearce got carded for his troubles after a series of high tackles against Neath went unpunished as advantage was played.

Cardiff Met finished with a flourish and the way that some experienced Neath forwards allowed themselves to be bossed should have them contemplating their navels for the full length of the Covid-19 crisis – and that may be some time !

Cardiff Met added further tries from George Gladding, Andrew Nurse and finally the accomplished Lloyd who converted two of them for a personal haul of 18 points. It gave the Met a comprehensive success as they ran a Neath team, lacking in self-esteem, off the park. In fairness, the students looked best-equipped team to have visited The Gnoll this season and their pace and ability to get the ball wide surpassed even the top two runaways Pontypool and Bargoed.

But it showed Neath, if it ever needed underlining, how much work needs to be done if they are to challenge next season – the gap is wider than many seem to think !

NEATH – I.Morgan; L.Griffiths, Jarrad Rees, M.Pearce, J.Roberts; Jordan Rees (M.Jones), M.Griffiths (N.Griffiths); B.Uphill (L.Tobias), S.Crocker (capt) (Iestyn Jones), S.Jones; J.Blackmore (S.Malone), J.Barley; T.Antozzi, D.Griggs, B.Lukes

CARDIFF MET – A.Nurse; Z.Clow, H.Johnston, B.Karea, M.Cunnington; E.Lloyd, E.McVeigh; T.Workman, M.Nelson, L.Yendle; L.Beer. B.Langton-Cryet; M.Heathman (capta), B.Marshall-Telfer, C.Geary Repl. I.Davies, D.Bartlett, O.Howard, K.Bevan, G.Gladding

Referee– Mr. B.Breakspear (Abercynon)


Neath play their second successive Thursday evening game when they take on Cardiff Metropolitan at The Gnoll (kick off 7.30pm).

Since the days when they were known as Cardiff Training College, the students have always played entertaining rugby and they are enjoying a successful season and are through to the quarter-finals of the British Universities competition.

Last time out, Neath’s fast game gave Bargoed considerable food for thought before bowing to the championship-chasers’ relentless forward pressure so an open game is in prospect.

Neath are again without captain Aaron Bramwell and have named much the same side with Macauley Griffiths replacing Nicky Griffiths the only change behind. Up front, Jacob Blackmore and Ben Lukes return for Matthew Davies who suffered a shoulder injury last week and Scott Malone who moves to an experienced replacements’ bench.

Neath v Cardiff Metropolitan (Home) 7.30pm
15 Iestyn Morgan; 14 Luke Griffiths, 13 Jarrad Rees, 12 Matthew Pearce, 11 James Roberts; 10 Jordan Rees, 9 Macauley Griffiths; 1 Ben Uphill, 2 Sion Crocker (captain), 3 Steffan Jones; 4 Jacob Blackmore, 5 Jon Barley; 6 Tomi Antozzi, 8 David Griggs, 7 Ben Lukes

Replacements – 16 Iestyn Jones, 17 Liam Tobias, 18 Scott Malone, 19 Nicky Griffiths, 20 Matthew Jones

Referee – Mr. Ben Breakspear (Abercynon)

Next Fixture
Sat March 21 Glamorgan Wanderers Home 2.30pm

HOSPITALITY NEWS: NEATH v CARDIFF MET – (Thursday 12th March 2020)

Neath RFC hospitality will continue on Thursday 12th March for the CARDIFF MET league fixture at the Gnoll.

The pre-match hospitality will start from 5:30pm comprising of a two course meal.

This is a great opportunity to try the Neath RFC hospitality experience which will be in place for every home league game. Recent hospitality events have been very successful and arrangements are being made to ensure that this experience continues for all home games.

Entry to hospitality is £20.00 which includes a Match Ticket.
(£12 for Season Ticket holders)

The on field action will then kick off at 7:30pm, as both NEATH and CARDIFF MET will be eager to progress in their respective WRU Championship league campaigns.

Matchday hospitality is open to both Neath and CARDIFF MET supporters.

Please book early by calling The Clubhouse on 01639 643328 or emailing