Jack Rhapps

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John Rhapps
Full name Jack Rhapps
Date of birth (1876-07-15)15 July 1876
Place of birth Aberaman, Wales
Date of death 23 January 1950(1950-01-23) (aged 73)
Place of death Stretford, England
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 87 kg (13 st 10 lb)
Occupation(s) collier
Rugby league career
Position Forward
Professional clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1897-1910 Salford 286 11
National teams
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1904 Other Nationalities 1 (?)
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Forward
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team    
?-1897 Penygraig RFC
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1897 WalesWales 1 (0)

John "Jack" Rhapps (15 July 1876 – 23 January 1950)[1][2] was a Welsh international rugby union forward who played club rugby for Penygraig and international rugby for Wales. Rhapps later "Went North", when he turned professional, joining rugby league team Salford, and along with Anthony Starks they became the World's first dual-code rugby internationals.

Rhapps was born in the Penylan pub in Aberaman,[3] near Aberdare, but came to the Rhondda Valley to find work. A collier by profession,[4] Rhapps was one of the first 'Rhondda forwards', an aggressive style of forward player who was expected to play a more physical style of game.[5]

Rugby career[edit]

Rhapps played just a single game for Wales, when he was selected to face England as part of the 1897 Home Nations Championship. Rhapps joined a fairly inexperienced pack, which contained two other Rhondda players, Penygraig team mate Dai Evans and Llwynypia's Dick Hellings. The game ended in the largest win for Wales over the English to that date, but Wales failed to complete the competition after withdrawing from the International Rugby Board after the events of the The Gould Affair. Although Wales were readmitted in 1898, Rhapps had ended his international rugby union career by switching to the rugby league code in 1897 when he joined Salford.[6] Rhapps was extremely successful during his time as a professional, he won a cap playing Left-Prop for Other Nationalities (RL) while at Salford in the 9-3 victory over England at Central Park, Wigan on Tuesday 5 April 1904, in the first ever international rugby league match.[7] and gained the nickname "The Lion of Salford".[3]

International matches played[edit]


Other Nationalities


  • Godwin, Terry (1984). The International Rugby Championship 1883-1983. London: Willows Books. ISBN 0-00-218060-X. 
  • Griffiths, John (1987). The Phoenix Book of International Rugby Records. London: Phoenix House. ISBN 0-460-07003-7. 
  • Parry-Jones, David (1999). Prince Gwyn, Gwyn Nicholls and the First Golden Era of Welsh Rugby. Bridgend: seren. ISBN 1-85411-262-7. 
  • 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. 


  1. ^ Jack Rapps player profile WRU website
  2. ^ Jack Rhapps player profile Scrum.com
  3. ^ a b Smith (1980), pg 108
  4. ^ Wales team visit Big Pit Archived 3 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine. WRU site
  5. ^ Parry-Jones (1999), pg 36.
  6. ^ Bale, John; Maguire, Joseph The Global Sports Arena: Athletic Talent Migration in an Interdependent World, Routledge (1994) pg 30 ISBN 978-0-7146-4116-4
  7. ^ Fagan, Sean. "The First International Rugby League Match". rl1895.com. Retrieved 14 December 2014. [dead link]
  8. ^ Smith (1980), pg 471.