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Our History



Established in 1871, Neath Rugby Football Club is the oldest club side in Wales, with
a rich history of league and cup dominance in Welsh rugby. The Welsh All
Blacks throughout the Rugby world with a platitude of household name
internationals wearing the Maltese cross on the Gnoll ground

Neath RFC Founded

It has long been thought that Neath Rugby Football Club was founded in 1871/72 when the first recorded rugby match in Wales took place, Neath against Swansea – the outcome was disputed..Read More


WRU Founded In Neath

Neath’s status as one of the leading Welsh clubs was soon confirmed by their record in the South Wales Challenge Cup that did much to generate interest in the game. Read More


Touring Sides at The Gnoll

As early as 1908, Neath had joined with Aberavon to take on the touring Australians(such Joint-ventures were oft-repeated but the combination rarely reflected the talent of its constituent parts…


1st Welsh Captain

Immediately after the Great War, Glyn Stephens became the first Neath man to captain Wales, Leading his country against the New Zealand Armed Forces…


Brian Thomas

Neath won the Snelling Sevens in 1964 and 1970 and, led by Brian Thomas, recaptured the Welsh Championship as well as the Anglo-Welsh “Sunday Telegraph” pennant in 1966/1967…


Centenary Year

Neath became the first senior Welsh club to celebrate its centenary in1971/1972 – the Club was given the “Freedom of the Borough” and played the Barbarians, the Irish Wolfhounds and a WRU President’s XV. But the icing on the birthday cake came when scrum-half Martyn Davies became the first captain to lift the new WRU Cup when Neath beat Llanelli 15–9.


The Thomas revolution

In 1981, Brian Thomas returned in the then revolutionary post of Team Manager, ably assisted by two former captains in Ron Waldron and Glen Ball as coaches, David Shaw as team secretary and Alan Roper as fitness coach, and together they launched the Club on an era of unprecedented success.


Welsh Champions

After losing a WRU Cup Final to Cardiff by 19-24 in 1984, Neath’s list of achievements gathered momentum…


Record-breaking Season

Neath RFC holds the World Record for the number of points (1917) and tries (345) accumulated in one season (47 games). This record was set during the 1988/89 season.


Professional days

Initially in the professional era Neath struggled to retain the services of players. Unlike many other clubs the Blacks did not have the advantage of a financial backer and naturally Neath’s considerable talents soon attracted others


Regional rugby

Neath signed off the professional club era in 2002/2003 by becoming the only club side ever to reach a Celtic final when they lost to Munster and in the domestic League finished runners-up to Bridgend.


Pat Horgan as coach

In 2009/10, Patrick Horgan took over as coach and Arwel Thomas led the side to a fifth League title in 7 years and added the playoff title for good measure…


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