James Bevan

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James Bevan
Birth name James Alfred Bevan[1]
Date of birth (1858-04-15)15 April 1858
Place of birth St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Date of death 3 February 1938(1938-02-03) (aged 79)
Place of death Leytonstone, London
School Hereford Cathedral School
University St John's College, Cambridge
Rugby union career
Position(s) Three-quarters
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)

Abergavenny RFC
Cambridge University R.U.F.C.
Clifton RFC
Newport RFC
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1881 Wales[2] 1 (0)

James Bevan (15 April 1858 – 3 February 1938) was a Wales international rugby union three-quarter who played club rugby for Clifton RFC and Newport. He is best known for being the first Welsh international captain, whilst at Cambridge University.

Rugby career[edit]

Born in St Kilda, Victoria, Australia, Bevan moved to England after his parents, James and Elizabeth (née Fly), died when the SS London sank in a gale in the Bay of Biscay on 11 January 1866. He attended Hereford Cathedral School, and played for Abergavenny[3] before attending university at St John's College, Cambridge.[4] Bevan played for Cambridge University, and while with Cambridge was selected to captain the very first Welsh international, against England.

The Rugby Football Union insisted that the England vs Wales match be played on 19 February 1881. This was the same day that Swansea were playing Llanelli at Neath in a semi-final cup-tie thus depriving Wales of several players. This was Wales's first international, organised before the Welsh Rugby Union was set up. The players had never played together before, though one player, Major Richard Summers, was selected for Wales on his performances a couple of years earlier for his school, Cheltenham College, in matches against Cardiff and Newport. No formal invitations to play were sent out to the Welsh XV. Two of those expected to appear didn't turn up, so bystanders, university undergraduates with tenuous Welsh links who had travelled to London to see the match, were called in to play for Wales.

It was a humiliating defeat for the Welsh team and Bevan never played for Wales again (under modern scoring values Wales lost 82-0). A month after the match the WRFU was founded at the Castle Hotel, Neath on 12 March 1881.

Bevan later became an Anglican clergyman.[4]

The James Bevan Trophy was named in his honour to celebrate 100 years of Test Rugby.

International matches played[edit]


External links[edit]


  • 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. ^ Newport RFC player profile Archived 17 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ WRU player profiles Archived 17 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Smith (1980), pg 24.
  4. ^ a b "Bevan, James Alfred (BVN877JA)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  5. ^ Smith (1980), pg 463.