Image Alt

Neath RFC


It is with the deepest sadness that, barely 72 hours after the Club staged a special fund-raising game for him, Neath RFC must announce the passing of former prop Martin Jones after a long illness.

Last Friday, former team-mates of Martin assembled at The Gnoll to play a match in his honour and a good crowd and associated activities ensured that a substantial sum of money was raised to make his remaining time as comfortable as could be. 

The upper Swansea Valley has long been a wonderful nursery for Neath RFC and Martin followed that path although he arrived at Neath RFC via a somewhat circuitous route embracing Cwmtwrch, Ystradgynlais, Llanelli, Swansea, Celtic Warriors and Cardiff Blues and he earned Wales age-grade international honours too.

Martin’s arrival at Neath RFC in 2007 saw him take part in the unusual trip to Bucharest when the Welsh All Blacks were honoured to accept an invitation to play the full Romanian XV as they prepared for the World Cup.

He immediately established himself  in the team as a tight-head prop of the ‘old school’ – scrummage first and very much a players’ player and he went on to play 81 games in the famous All Black shirt – more than he did for any other club – so he rightly regarded Neath as his Club.

They were successful times for Neath RFC as championships and cups flowed to The Gnoll and Martin was at the core of it – his popularity was demonstrated by the players, led by his old skipper Gareth Gravell, who rallied to the cause in support of him last Friday.

Neath secretary Mike Price said, “It is very sad. Martin has been ill for some time and it is tragic that he should pass away so quickly after Friday’s game. I suppose in a way we can take comfort from the fact that he got to see so many of his old team-mates and friends at Neath RFC.

“We were all able to speak to him on the night and I shared reminiscences with him of the great times we had in places like Nottingham, Ulster and against the Romanian national side. Martin’s memory was excellent and he relished recalling our beating the Romanians when they came back to play us at The Gnoll.

“We will, of course, have a minute’s silence in his memory before Saturday’s game against Newport and Neath RFC’s deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends.