West Wales Raiders
|Full name||West Wales Raiders Rugby League|
|Founded||2009 (as South Wales Scorpions)|
|Most capped||23 - Steve Parry|
|Highest points scorer||32 - Steve Parry|
The West Wales Raiders are a professional rugby league club based in Llanelli, Wales, following a move from Merthyr Tydfil. They play in League 1, the third tier of rugby league in the United Kingdom. The club was formed in 2009 as South Wales Scorpions, initially playing at The Gnoll in Neath before spells at Caerphilly, Mountain Ash and Maesteg. The club was rebranded to South Wales Ironmen to coincide with the move to Merthyr Tydfil in 2017. In July 2017 it was announced that following a takeover the club would be relocating to Llanelli and play their remaining home matches at Stebonheath Park. From 2018 they are known as West Wales Raiders, the name of the club based at Stebonheath.
Many professional and semi-professional Welsh teams have played rugby league in the otherwise English competitions since the formation of the Northern Union in 1895. The latest attempt to expand the game to South Wales began when the Crusaders joined the National League Two in 2006. The club was initially based in Bridgend.
The idea of a second professional side in Wales was discussed before the Celtic Crusaders had even played a game. The Crusaders' plan was to help a Rugby League Conference Welsh Premier club join the National Leagues to act as a feeder club if Crusaders reached Super League. The idea was also talked about in mid-2009 when Rugby Football League decided that Super League Reserves would be turned into an under-20 competition, a move that could have halted the development of rugby league players in the area after they turned 21 years old.
The formation of the South Wales Scorpions was accelerated after the Crusaders left South Wales and moved to Wrexham F.C.'s Racecourse Ground. South Wales RLFC were formed by a consortium of businessmen led by Phil Davies in late 2009. They were accepted into Championship One the third tier of British rugby league for the 2010 season.
2009–2015: South Wales Scorpions
Several suggestions for a team moniker were made by various people. The club had a poll among fans online to choose between the various options. Scorpions proved to be the most popular choice with Crusaders just beaten into second place. On 22 December 2009, the club formally adopted the name South Wales Scorpions RLFC. An updated version of the logo was released in February 2010 following feedback.
The initial batch of players were selected from an open trial plus a few signings from other clubs. Some players were dual-registered with Crusaders RL and had played for the Crusaders reserves. Before a ball had been kicked, the club celebrated its first international players, Loren Quick and Lewis Reece, who played for Wales and Great Britain at under-18 level. Anthony Seibold, who had been an Assistant Coach at Crusaders, was the first head coach.
The Scorpions' first ever competitive game was against Workington Town on 28 February 2010, who also provided the competition for Celtic Crusaders' first match in the 2006 National League 2 competition. The Scorpions won this encounter 22–20, in front of a crowd of over 500 at the Gnoll; with stand-off Lloyd White, on a months loan at South Wales from Crusaders, landing the crucial penalty goal to secure victory. The team went on to finish sixth in the table and made the play-offs. Seibold returned to Australia at the end of the season.
Wales Rugby League, agreed to take over the running of South Wales Scorpions for the 2014 season after Phil Davies decided to step down. Professional rugby league returned to the Bridgend county borough as Scorpions moved to Maesteg RFC. This move however would only last a single season as at the end of the season the club announced it would be moving to ground share with Mountain Ash RFC at Parc Dyffryn Pennar.
2016–present: Ironmen and West Wales
In 2016 South Wales Scorpions played their home matches at Virginia Park the home of Caerphilly RFC. Their final match of the season was played at Blackwood RFC due to a damaged playing surface in Caerphilly.
South Wales rebranded as South Wales Ironmen for the 2017 season as the club moved to Merthyr Tydfil. The town of Merthyr Tydfil was, at one time, the largest producer of iron in the world.
In July 2017, it was announced that after a takeover by Andrew Thorne, owner of amateur club West Wales Raiders Rugby League, the club would play the rest of their home games for the 2017 season at Stebonheath Park, Llanelli and that from 2018 the club will be known as West Wales Raiders and based permanently in Llanelli.
In April 2018, the club were on the receiving end of a record score and losing margin when they lost 0–144 to York, the previous highest scoring game was in November 1994 when Huddersfield beat Blackpool by 142–4, the losing margin was also equalled the next day in 1994 by Barrow who beat Nottingham City 138–0.
|Full name||West Wales Raiders Rugby League Football Club|
|Colours||Green with white V|
The West Wales Raiders Rugby League Club previously known as Raiders RL is the rugby league club in West Wales formed in January 2015. They are based at Stebonheath Park in Llanelli. Formerly called Gwendreath Valley Raiders they moved to Llanelli when the club gained entry into the Conference League South which is level 4 of the Rugby League system. in addition to being a local club the raiders are more proactive than some of their professional counterparts by visiting all the local schools delivering rugby league training to pupils. They also have links with one of the oldest university rugby league teams in Wales the Warpigs from Swansea University. The raiders have taken over the running and coaching of the university rugby league team since 2017.
|West Wales Raiders 2019 Squad|
|First team squad||Coaching staff|
Updated: 12 February 2019
|Kim Williams (Head Coach)||Central Queensland Capras||N/A||June 2018|
|Tyler Hunt||West Coast Pirates||N/A||October 2018|
|Mickael Sabour||Boston Thirteens||N/A||October 2018|
|Robert Tuliatu||Asquith Magpies||N/A||October 2018|
|Elliott Jennings||Maitland Pickers||N/A||October 2018|
|Lewis Reece||Whitehaven R.L.F.C.||N/A||October 2018|
|Ashley Bateman||Coventry Bears||N/A||October 2018|
|Dimosthenis Kartsonakis||Rhodes Knights||1 Year||November 2018|
|Sam Herron||Red Star Belgrade||1 year||November 2018|
|Liam Rice-Wilson||Coventry Bears||N/A||November 2018|
|Jack O'Brien||Red Star Belgrade||N/A||November 2018|
|Liam Clark||Wynnum Manly Seagulls||N/A||January 2019|
|Ronnie Palumbo||Toulouse Olympique||N/A||January 2019|
|Dai Evans||Bedwas RFC||N/A||January 2019|
|Chris Vitalini||Coventry Bears||1 year||January 2019|
|Alex King||Swansea University||1 year||January 2019|
|Morgan Evans||N/A||Until end of season||April 2019|
|Gioele Celerino||N/A||Util end of season||April 2019|
|Ronnie Palumbo||Released||N/A||April 2019|
|Robert Tuliatu||Released||N/A||April 2019|
- Biggest win:
- 70-16 v. Newcastle (at Neath, 11th July 2010)
- Biggest defeat:
- Biggest home attendance:
- "South Wales club to join Championship One". Rugby Football League. 11 December 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.[dead link]
- "Green light for new Welsh club". Press Association. 11 December 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
- Wales online
- "New rugby league club South Wales gets the green light". BBC. 11 December 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
- "Crusaders & Salford win licences". BBC. 22 July 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
- "3D images of the kit". South Wales Scorpions. 5 February 2010. Archived from the original on 9 February 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
- "South Wales Scorpions Relocate to Maesteg". Wales Online.
- "Scorpions move to Mountain Ash". South Wales Scorpions. 1 October 2014. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
- "New owners for South Wales Ironmen". Wales Rugby League. 13 July 2017. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
- "About". raidersrugbyleague.co.uk.
- "Wales Rugby League". walesrugbyleague.co.uk.