|Ground(s)||Cardiff Arms Park (Capacity: 12,500)|
|Chairman||John Huw Williams|
|League(s)||Welsh Premier Division|
|Sections of Cardiff Athletic Club|
Cardiff Athletic Club
Cardiff Cricket Club
Lisvane (CAC) Tennis Club
Cardiff Athletic Bowls Club
Cardiff and UWIC Hockey Club
Cardiff Rugby Football Club is a rugby union football club based in Cardiff, the capital city of Wales. The club was founded in 1876 and played their first few matches at Sophia Gardens, but soon relocated to Cardiff Arms Park where they have been based ever since. They built a reputation as one of the great clubs in world rugby largely through a series of wins against international touring sides. Both South Africa and New Zealand have been beaten by Cardiff; and Australia have failed to beat the club in six attempts. Through its history Cardiff RFC have provided more players to the Welsh national side and British and Irish Lions than any other Welsh club. They are now a feeder club to the Cardiff Blues regional team.
- 1 History
- 2 Current squad
- 3 The Arms Park
- 4 Club honours
- 5 British and Irish Lions
- 6 Wales International Captains
- 7 Other notable former players
- 8 Regional Rugby
- 9 Games played against international opposition
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Footnotes
- 13 External links
The first recognised team to begin playing rugby in Cardiff was Glamorgan Football Club, formed as a club team while Cardiff was still a town. The team was formed by a group of young men during the 1873/74 season, after a circular letter was sent to interested parties by S. Campell Cory. Playing under the Cheltenham College rules, Glamorgan FC had increased its membership to sixty six by November 1874. 1874 saw Glamorgan's first away game, against Cowbridge Grammar School, and by 1875 the team played its first encounter with Newport. Around 1875, two further clubs came into existence in Cardiff, they were Tredegarville Football Club, whose ranks included Jas. Bush, father of future Cardiff rugby hero Percy Bush; and the Wanderers Football Club whose captain and founder was William David Phillips. Of the three teams, Glamorgan and Wanderers became the most notable, but both teams rarely travelled, and both had difficulty beating the now established clubs of Newport and Swansea. The supporters of both clubs started an agitation in the summer of 1876 for the two clubs to amalgamate, to give Cardiff town a better chance of beating the neighbouring teams. On Friday 22 September 1876 members of the Glamorgan and Wanderers clubs met at the Swiss Hall in Queen Street, Cardiff and decided to make a single club, to be called Cardiff Football Club. The first team captain was Donaldson Selby of Glamorgan and the vice-captain W.D. Phillips of Wanderers. Initially the club strip was black with a white skull and crossbones, but after pressure from the players parents to change what they saw as an inappropriate strip, the team adopted the black and blue of Cambridge University; after club player Thomas William Rees of Caius College brought his university strip to the club.
Cardiff FC played their first fixture on 2 December 1876, versus Newport at Wentloog Marshes. In 1881, Cardiff beat Llanelli to win the South Wales Challenge Cup, though the tournament was scrapped soon after due to persistent crowd trouble.
In 1881, Newport based sports administrator, Richard Mullock, formed the first Welsh international rugby team. Despite the team losing heavily to England, Mullock had chosen four players from Cardiff to represent the team; club captain William David Phillips, vice-captain B. B. Mann, Barry Girling and Leonard Watkins, a reflection on the clubs importance at the time. A month later, on 12 March 1881, Cardiff RFC was one of the eleven clubs present at the formation of the Welsh Rugby Union in Neath.
A notable early player was Frank Hancock. A skilful centre, Hancock first played for Cardiff due to an injury to a first regular. At this time, rugby was played with six backs and nine forwards but Hancock's performance so impressed the selectors that for the next game they selected him as a seventh back and selected only eight forwards. The system was soon adopted by the Welsh national team and the seven backs and eight forwards system exists in rugby to this day. Cardiff RFC and Hancock were jointly recognised by the International Rugby Board in 2011 for this innovation with induction to the IRB Hall of Fame.
League rugby and introduction of professionalism
Cardiff joined the Welsh Premier Division on its launch in 1990, becoming champions of the division for the first time in the 1994-95 season. The following season, as rugby union became a professional game, they finished as runners-up of the inaugural Heineken Cup competition, losing to Toulouse in the final after the game went to extra time. Disagreements with the way the Welsh Rugby Union was running the Welsh league structure following the game's move to professionalism led to Cardiff and Swansea RFC boycotting the Premier Division for the 1998-99 season in favour of playing English opposition in friendlies, in what was dubbed the rebel season. On their return to the Premier Division the following year, Cardiff became champions for a second time.
Today, Cardiff RFC Ltd runs two sides. The Cardiff Blues now back at Cardiff Arms Park after three years playing at Cardiff City Stadium. The professional regional side, Cardiff Blues take part in the Pro 12 league, Anglo-Welsh Cup and Heineken Cup. The Cardiff RFC club side take part in the Welsh Premier Division, WRU Challenge Cup and the British and Irish Cup.
Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under IRB eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-IRB nationality.
The Arms Park
Club Rugby games were moved to what was the cricket ground and a new stadium was built in 1969 as a result of an agreement between the Cardiff Athletic Club and the Welsh Rugby Union. On the site of the old Arms Park stadium, a new stadium was built, Welsh National Rugby Ground (also known as The National Stadium). In 1999, a brand new stadium was built in place of the National Stadium, which was named the Millennium Stadium. Cardiff Blues moved from the Arms Park for the 2009/10 season to play at the Cardiff City Stadium in Leckwith, Cardiff - the home of Cardiff City FC. After three seasons Cardiff Blues returned to their 'spiritual home' and will play the majority of future games at their traditional Arms Park home.
- Heineken Cup runners-up: 1996
- Middlesex 7s winners: 1939
- Snelling Sevens winners: 1955, 1966, 1969, 1972, 1976, 1977, 1981, 1983 and 1984.
- Welsh Cup: 1981, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1994 and 1997
- Unofficial Welsh Club Champions: 1897-98; 1905–06; 1906–07; 1908–09; 1936–37; 1937–38; 1938–39; 1947–48; 1948–49; 1952–53; 1954–55; 1957–58; 1981–82;
- Welsh League: 1995
- Welsh/Scottish League: 2000
- Welsh Premiership: 2009
- IRB Hall of Fame: 2011
British and Irish Lions
The following former players were selected for the British and Irish Lions touring squads whilst playing for Cardiff RFC. Gareth Thomas was selected for the 2005 Lions tour whilst playing for Toulouse
Wales International Captains
The following former players captained the Wales national rugby union team whilst playing for Cardiff RFC.
See also Wales rugby union captains
Other notable former players
The following players represented Cardiff and were capped at international level, but do not warrant inclusion in the above two lists.
- See also Category:Cardiff RFC players
Since the advent of Regional Rugby in 2003 a number of Cardiff RFC Players have gone on to represent Wales (some whilst still playing for the club rather than the regional side). The Cardiff club side have also had a number of players selected for Wales at 7s and at U20 level. Those gaining full international honours include -
Games played against international opposition
- Davies, D.E. (1975). Cardiff Rugby Club, History and Statistics 1876-1975. Risca: The Starling Press. ISBN 0-9504421-0-0.
- Parry-Jones, David (1989). The Rugby Clubs of Wales. Hutchinson. ISBN 978-0-09-173850-1.
- Smith, David; Williams, Gareth (1980). Fields of Praise: The Official History of The Welsh Rugby Union. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 0-7083-0766-3.
- Parry-Jones (1989), pg 59
- Parry-Jones (1989), pg 63
- Parry-Jones (1989), pg 64
- Davies (1975), pg 10
- Davies (1975), pg 11
- The 1874-75 Season historyofnewport.co.uk
- Davies (1975), pg 12
- Davies (1975), pg 13
- "Rees, Thomas William John (RS875TW)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Davies (1975), pg 19
- Smith (1980), pg 41
- Smith (1980), pg 61
- "Hancock and Cardiff inducted to Hall of Fame" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 2011-05-06. Retrieved 2011-05-07.
- "Heineken Cup 1995/6". BBC Sport Online.
- Laybourn, Ian (1998-08-22). "Rebel clubs secede from WRU". The Independent (Independent Print Limited).
- Vivian Jenkins, ed. (1976). Rothmans Rugby Yearbook 1976-77. Queen Anne Press. p. 20. ISBN 0-362-00281-9.
- Jenkins, Vivian (1977). Rothmans Rugby Yearbook 1977-78. Macdonald and Jane's. pp. 52–53. ISBN 0-354-09020-8.
- Jenkins, Vivian (1979). Rothmans Rugby Yearbook 1979-80. Macdonald and Jane's. p. 24. ISBN 0-354-09087-9.
- Jenkins, Vivian (1980). Rothmans Rugby Yearbook 1980-81. Queen Anne Press. pp. 54–55. ISBN 0-362-02018-3.
- Fiji Rugby.com
- Robert Cole (10 October 1995). "Wales brace themselves for the giants of Fiji". The Independent. Retrieved 20 June 2008.[dead link]