Cardiff City Blue Dragons
The Cardiff City Blue Dragons were a rugby league team formed in 1981. Their home ground was Ninian Park which was also used by Cardiff City FC. The club spent three seasons in Cardiff before relocating to Bridgend in 1984 as the Bridgend Blue Dragons, who were finally wound up in 1986. The team colours were royal blue shirts with a yellow and white vee. The shorts and socks were also blue.
In 2014, the two main Rugby League clubs in the city, Cardiff Demons and Cardiff Spartans merged. As a result, the 'Cardiff City RLFC' name was revived and a new club formed, with a modernised badge and kit paying homage to the original side. The 1st and 2nd open age sides will be playing senior home matches at Cardiff Arms Park during the 2015 Welsh Conference season. For 2017 Cardiff Rugby League sides play at The Memorial Ground, Ely following a partnership with Glamorgan Wanderers RFC.
Early history of rugby league in Cardiff
In 1947–48 and 1951–52, following a successful stint in the Welsh League, Cardiff was elected to the Rugby Football League. However, after one disastrous season with low attendances, the club withdrew.
Cardiff City Blue Dragons RLFC
The initial success of rugby league teams Carlisle and Fulham RLFC which were backed by Carlisle United and Fulham association football clubs respectively, encouraged Cardiff City to form Cardiff City Blue Dragons for the 1981–82 season. Their managing director was David Watkins, their coach was John Mantle. The club initially signed three (former) rugby union internationals – Steve Fenwick, Tom David and Paul Ringer. A fourth (former) international, Brynmor Williams, was signed later on.
Their first game against Salford on 30 August 1981 attracted a crowd of 9,247. Despite finishing half-way up the Second Division in their first season, success on the field was elusive and the club failed to win promotion in three seasons at Ninian Park. Towards the end of their tenure in Cardiff crowds had dwindled to about 500 and they were forced into liquidation after the death of Cardiff City chairman Bob Grogan. Their last home game was a 28–26 loss to York.
In July 1984 the club was bought out of liquidation by a consortium. The new owners came under pressure from the Welsh FA who wanted Ninian Park as their permanent headquarters and were opposed to ground sharing with rugby league. As a result the Blue Dragons changed their name to Bridgend Blue Dragons and relocated the club to Bridgend Town AFC's Coychurch Road ground.
Bridgend Blue Dragons RLFC
Their first home game on 9 September 1984 attracted a crowd of 1,983 to watch Bridgend go down 28–16 to Swinton. After that attendances dropped and by February 1985 less than 200 fans were watching the home games. Their lowest gate was 148 for the final home game against Doncaster on 21 April 1985 when they went down 28–10. The club finished bottom of the Second Division with only one win.
Four days before the start of the 1986–87 season the Rugby Football League dropped Bridgend Blue Dragons from the fixtures for failing to secure a ground and Bridgend RLFC decided not to seek reinstatement.
Players earning International Caps while at Cardiff City (Bridgend) Blue Dragons
- Current Cardiff City Rugby League website
- History of Welsh RL Clubs
- CruXIII – Cardiff City Blue Dragons RLFC History
- Cardiff City Blue Dragons Results 1981/1982
- Peter Flower's Southend Invicta website: Bridgend Section
- Rugby League's modern expansionists
- Photo of a Cardiff City Blue Dragons jersey from OLDRUGBYSHIRTS.com