Rhys Gabe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Rhys Gabe
Rhys Gabe.jpg
Gabe in his Newport jersey
Birth nameRees Thomas Gape
Date of birth(1880-06-22)22 June 1880
Place of birthLlangennech, Wales
Date of death15 September 1967(1967-09-15) (aged 87)
Place of deathCardiff, Wales
Height5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Weight12 st 8 lb (176 lb; 80 kg)
SchoolLlanelli Intermediate School
UniversityBorough Road College
Rugby union career
Position(s) Centre
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Llangennech RFC
Llanelli RFC
London Welsh RFC
Cardiff RFC
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Wales Wales
United Kingdom Great Britain

Rhys Thomas "Rusty" Gabe (22 June 1880 – 15 September 1967)[2] born as Rees Thomas Gape,[3] was a Welsh rugby union player who played club rugby for Llanelli, London Welsh and Cardiff and gained 24 caps for Wales,[4] mainly as a centre.

Rugby career[edit]

Born in Llangennech, Gabe started his rugby career with Llangennech[3] before making his debut with Llanelli at the age of seventeen. In 1901 he moved to London to study at Borough Road Training College and joined London Welsh, where he was moved to centre. After qualifying as a mathematics teacher, he took a teaching post in Cardiff and joined the Cardiff club, where he formed a devastating centre combination with Gwyn Nicholls for both club and country. He played for Cardiff between 1902–03 and 1909–10, captaining the club in the 1907–08 season. He scored 51 tries for Cardiff in 115 appearances.[5]

Gabe won his first cap for Wales against Ireland in 1901, playing on the left wing. His 24 caps for Wales included the famous 1905 victory against New Zealand, and he captained Wales in the 1907 match against Ireland. He toured Australasia with the British Isles team of 1904. He played in all four test matches, including the three victories over Australia.[6]

1905 Wales squad, Gabe, back row, second from right

Gabe was an impressive try scorer and scored 11 tries during his Welsh career. In his first game against England in 1902 he scored a memorable try when John Strand-Jones deceived the entire English pack and passed the ball to Gabe. With only the English full back Gamlin to beat, Gabe raced to the try line and rounded Gamlin but took a heavy blow to his solar plexus. Gabe managed to carry on, cross the line, score the try, only then passing out.[7]

His most remarkable try was probably one scored against England at Bristol in 1908. The match was played in thick fog, and Gabe and his team mate Percy Bush found a loose ball outside England's 25. Gabe won the tussle for the ball and set off in the direction of the line, while Bush ran off in the opposite direction to confuse the opposition. Eventually the referee and the other players arrived at the line to find Gabe waiting with the ball.[8]

Gabe retired in 1908, but still appeared occasionally for Cardiff. He was a fine club cricketer and played occasionally for Glamorgan. He also captained Radyr Golf Club, and played at Cardiff Golf Club well into his eighties.[6] He died in Cardiff in 1967.

International games played[edit]


British Isles


  • Jenkins, John M.; et al. (1991). Who's Who of Welsh International Rugby Players. Wrexham: Bridge Books. ISBN 1-872424-10-4.
  • Thomas, Wayne (1979). A Century of Welsh Rugby Players. Ansells Ltd.
  • 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.

Further reading[edit]

Gareth Hughes (1983) One hundred years of scarlet (Llanelli Rugby Football Club) ISBN 0-9509159-0-4


  1. ^ National Library of Wales online
  2. ^ Rusty Gabe player profile Scrum.com
  3. ^ a b Jenkins (1991), pg 60.
  4. ^ WRU player profile[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ 'Cardiff Rugby Club History and Statistics 1876–1975' (1975) D.E. Davies ISBN 0-9504421-0-0
  6. ^ a b 'Cardiff Sporting Greats' (2007) Andrew Hignell and Gwyn Prescott pp 194–195 ISBN 978-0-7524-4286-0
  7. ^ Davies (1980), pg 143.
  8. ^ Davies (1980), pg 193.
  9. ^ Smith (1980), pg 466.
Rugby Union Captain
Preceded by
Percy Bush
Cardiff RFC Captain
Succeeded by
Percy Bush