Swansea RFC

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Swansea RFC
Full nameSwansea Rugby Football Club
Nickname(s)The Whites
Founded1872; 151 years ago (1872)[1]
LocationSwansea, Wales
Ground(s)St Helen's Rugby and Cricket Ground (Capacity: 4,500)
Coach(es)Richard Lancaster[2]
League(s)Principality Premiership
Team kit
Official website

Swansea Rugby Football Club is a Welsh rugby union team which plays in the Welsh Premiership. The club play at St Helen's Rugby and Cricket Ground in Swansea and are also known as The Whites, in reference to their home kit colours.


The club was founded in 1872[4] as an association football team, switching to the rugby code in 1874, and in 1881 it became one of the eleven founder clubs of the Welsh Rugby Union.[5][6]

Swansea team that won the South Wales Challenge Cup, as depicted on Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News

In the early twentieth century Swansea RFC was an extremely successful club. For four consecutive seasons Swansea were the unofficial Welsh champions from the 1898–99 season through to 1901/02, coinciding with the heyday of Swansea's first star player Billy Bancroft. Under the captaincy of Frank Gordon the team would later go on a 22-month unbeaten run, from December 1903 through to October 1905. During this period Swansea appeared to be under-represented at international level. Gordon himself went uncapped throughout his entire career, and apart from Billy Trew, Dick Jones and Dicky Owen, the only other internationals in the senior team were forward Sid Bevan (1 cap),[7] wing Jowett (1 cap)[8] and outside-half Phil Hopkins (4 caps).[9] Trew (29 caps) was an outstanding centre who was accepted as one of the most important players in the evolution of Welsh rugby,[10] while Dicky Owen (35 caps), although only 5-foot 4 inches tall, was an incredible tactician.[11]

The immediate post war years brought only limited success, although a notable 6–6 draw was achieved against New Zealand in 1953 followed by a 9–8 victory against Australia in 1966. It was not until the club's centenary season in 1973/74, however, that the club became Merit Table Champions. Swansea achieved further success as club champions in 1979/80, 1980/81, 1982/83 as well as Welsh cup winners in 1978.

Players during this period included Clem Thomas, Billy Williams, Dewi Bebb, Mervyn Davies, Geoff Wheel, David Richards and Mark Wyatt, the club's record points scorer with 2,740 points scored between 1976/77 and 1991/92.

The 1990s saw success for the club, including being league champions on 4 occasions (1991/92, 1993/94, 1997/98 and 2000/01) and Welsh cup winners in 1995 and 1999. A memorable 21–6 victory was recorded over then World champions Australia at St Helens on 4 November 1992. In season 1995/96 Swansea reached the semi-final stage of the European Cup. This period also included disputes with the Welsh Rugby Union over the way the league structure was being run in Wales following rugby union's move to being a professional game, which culminated in the club's boycott of the 1998/99 league season, in what was referred to as the rebel season.[12]

The 2003/04 season has seen a significant change with the introduction of regional rugby in Wales. Swansea Rugby Football Club Ltd, alongside Neath RFC are co-owners of the Ospreys. As a result, Swansea RFC returned to being an amateur team. Since the change to regional rugby Several players have played for Swansea RFC, as well Ospreys and Wales including Alun Wyn Jones, Ryan Jones, Scott Baldwin, Nicky Smith, Matthew Morgan, Eli Walker, Gavin Henson and Dan Biggar.

In 2014 the All Whites were relegated from the Welsh Premier league on the final day of the season when despite beating Neath at St Helens, a bonus point for Aberavon sent Swansea into the SWALEC Championship. This provoked a complete revamp of the club with Stephen Hughes taking the position of Chairman, Keith Colclough as Managing Director and Richard Lancaster leading a coaching team of former players including Rhodri Jones, Chris Loader and Ben Lewis. In their first season Swansea missed out on promotion back to the Premiership, finishing in second place overall, but were consequently promoted in the 15/16 season along with Merthyr, RGC 1404 and Bargoed.

Swansea struggled to adapt to the Premiership in their first two seasons back at the top flight although despite a crippling injury list, the 17/18 season showed much promise with the side recording five wins, a draw and 10 losing bonus points for losing the game within 7 points.

The 2018/19 season is a hugely important season for the club with potentially five clubs being relegated from the Welsh Premiership in order for the league to contain 12 teams in the 19/20 season. The coaching team of Richard Lancaster, Hugh Gustafson, Ben Lewis, Nick Roberts and Liam Carpener-Jones are currently preparing a squad consisting of many of the 17/18 squad along with new additions which are being announced on the club website regularly.


Swansea RFC defeated New Zealand 11–3 on Saturday 28 September 1935, becoming the first ever club side to beat the All Blacks.[13] The victory also made them the first club team to beat all three of the major touring teams to Britain; they had previously beaten Australia in 1908 and South Africa in 1912.[14]

In November 1992, Swansea RFC defeated world champions Australia 21–6, when Australia played their first match of their Welsh Tour.

Welsh Premier Division champions in:

  • 1991/1992
  • 1993/1994
  • 1997/1998
  • 2000/2001

Welsh Cup champions in:

  • 1977/1978
  • 1994/1995
  • 1998/1999

Whitbread Merit Table champions in:

  • 1980/1981

Snelling Sevens champions in:

  • 1982
  • 1989
  • 1991
  • 1995

Club officials[edit]

  • Honorary president: Stan Addicott
  • Chairmen: Stephen Hughes
  • Managing Director: Keith Colclough
  • Honorary Secretary: Alun Donovan
  • Board Members: David Blyth, Paul Whapham, Siwan Lillicrap
  • Former Players Association Chair: Huw Rees

Current Team Management[edit]

  • Director of Rugby: Richard Lancaster
  • Team Manager: Chris James
  • Assistant coach: Hugh Gustafson
  • Assistant coach: Ben Lewis
  • Assistant coach: Nick Roberts
  • Assistant coach: J Rhys Williams
  • Assistant coach: Liam Carperner-Jones
  • Team Physios: Nikki Donovan, Jessica Hegarty
  • Team Doctors: Dr Katy Guy, Dr Daniel Eckford, Dr Craig Dyson
  • Equipment Managers: Ian Hopkins, John Mcknight

Current squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Hugh Gustafason Hooker Wales Wales
Paul John Hooker Wales Wales
Sion Jones Hooker Wales Wales
Josh Clark Hooker Wales Wales
Tom Sloane Prop Wales Wales
Richard Murphy Prop Wales Wales
Jack Powell Prop Wales Wales
Greg Cunliffe Prop Wales Wales
Mitchell Walsh Prop Wales Wales
Sam Martin Prop Wales Wales
Andrew Harper Prop Wales Wales
Lewys Bullock Prop Wales Wales
Tudor Hughes Lock Wales Wales
Matthew Dodd Lock Wales Wales
Sam Kiley Lock Wales Wales
Jamie Williams Lock Wales Wales
Edd Cousins Lock Wales Wales
Will Griffiths Lock Wales Wales
Owen Morgan Lock Wales Wales
Callum Bowden Flanker Wales Wales
Jonathon Vaughan Flanker Wales Wales
Emyr Williams Flanker Wales Wales
Will Jones Flanker Wales Wales
Ben Davies Flanker Wales Wales
Duane Eager Flanker Wales Wales
Andy Green Flanker Wales Wales
Charlie Davies Flanker Wales Wales
Rory Gallagher Number 8 Wales Wales
Jon Fox Number 8 Wales Wales
Morgan Morris Number 8 Wales Wales
Player Position Union
Josh Guy Scrum-half Wales Wales
Sam Cambriani Scrum-half Wales Wales
Tom Ham Scrum-half Wales Wales
Matthew Aubrey Scrum-half Wales Wales
Phil Jones Fly-half Wales Wales
James Davies Fly-half Wales Wales
Josh Thomas Fly-half Wales Wales
Josh Hammett Fly-half Wales Wales
Foard Coaxley Fly-half Wales Wales
Dafydd Manly Fly-half Wales Wales
J Rhys Williams Centre Wales Wales
Jedd Evans Centre Wales Wales
Jake Randall Centre Wales Wales
Tom Williams Centre Wales Wales
Callum Carson Centre Wales Wales
Andrew Claypole Wing Wales Wales
Jon Baylis Wing Wales Wales
Gareth Rees Wing Wales Wales
Nathan Trowbridge Wing Wales Wales
Dan Howell Wing Wales Wales
Ryan Griffiths Wing Wales Wales
Joe Jenkins Wing Wales Wales
Matthew Owen Wing Wales Wales
R Rhys Williams Fullback Wales Wales
Richard Fussell Fullback Wales Wales
Owen Howe Fullback Wales Wales
Luke Griffiths Fullback Wales Wales

British and Irish Lions[edit]

The following former players were selected for the British and Irish Lions touring squads while playing for Swansea RFC.


Wales International Captains[edit]

The following former players captained the Wales national rugby union team while playing for Swansea RFC.

See also Wales rugby union captains


Other notable former players[edit]

The players listed below have played for Swansea and have also played international rugby.


Games played against international opposition[edit]

Year Date Opponent Result Score Tour
1888 24 December New Zealand New Zealand Māori Loss 0–5 1888–89 New Zealand Māori tour
1905 30 December  New Zealand Loss 3–4 1905 Original All Blacks tour
1908 26 December  Australia Win 6–0 1908–09 Australia tour of Britain
1912 26 December  South Africa Win 3–0 1912–13 South Africa tour of Europe
1931 10 October  South Africa Loss 3–10 1931–32 South Africa tour of Britain and Ireland
1935 28 September  New Zealand Win 11–3 1935–36 New Zealand tour of Britain, Ireland and Canada
1951 15 December  South Africa Loss 3–11 1951–52 South African tour of Europe
1953 12 December  New Zealand Draw 6–6 1953–54 New Zealand tour
1963 14 December  New Zealand Loss 9–16 1963–64 New Zealand tour
1966 26 November  Australia Win 9–8 1966–67 Australia tour of Britain, Ireland and France
1973 8 September  Fiji Loss 0–31 1973 Fiji tour of the British Isles and Canada[18]
1973 3 November  Australia Draw 9–9 1973 Australia rugby union tour of Europe[19]
1975 29 November  Australia Loss 6-12 1975–76 Australia tour of Britain and Ireland[20]
1980 25 October  New Zealand Loss 0-32 1980 New Zealand tour[21]
1981 28 November  Australia Loss 3-12 1981–82 Australia tour of Britain & Ireland[22]
1982 30 October New ZealandNew Zealand Māori Win 15-12 1982 New Zealand Māori tour
1984 30 October  Australia Loss 7-17 1984 Australia tour of Britain and Ireland
1985 16 October  Fiji Loss 14–23 1985 Fiji tour of the British Isles[23]
1989 21 October  New Zealand Loss 22–37 1989 New Zealand tour of the British Isles and Canada[24]
1992 4 November  Australia Win 21–6 1992 Australian tour of Europe[25]


  • 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. ^ The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales, John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur Lynch (2008) pp782 ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6
  2. ^ "Richard Lancaster | Swansea RFC". Archived from the original on 3 July 2018. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Second Phase : Principality Premiership | Welsh Rugby Union | Official Website". Archived from the original on 4 July 2018. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  4. ^ David Farmer ("The All Whites – the Life & Times of Swansea RFC" (DFPS Ltd 1995)p1
  5. ^ Swansea Rugby Football Club 1873–1945 Book – Images of Sport, Bleddyn Hopkins. Tempus Publishing
  6. ^ Smith (1980), pg 41.
  7. ^ a b c Smith (1980), pg 463.
  8. ^ Smith (1980), pg 468.
  9. ^ Smith (1980), pg 134.
  10. ^ The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales, John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur Lynch (2008) pp782 ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6
  11. ^ Smith (1980), pg 132.
  12. ^ Laybourn, Ian (22 August 1998). "Rebel clubs secede from WRU". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Archived from the original on 26 May 2022.
  13. ^ All Blacks: 288th All Black Game
  14. ^ "28 September down the years All Blacks humbled at St. Helens". ESPN. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  15. ^ Smith (1980), pg 472.
  16. ^ Smith (1980), pg 464.
  17. ^ Smith (1980), pg 473.
  18. ^ "Fiji Rugby.com". Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2008.
  19. ^ Jenkins, Vivian (1974). Rothmans Rugby Yearbook 1974–75. Queen Anne Press. p. 36. ISBN 0-362-00173-1.
  20. ^ Jenkins, Vivian (1976). Rothmans Rugby Yearbook 1976–77. Queen Anne Press. p. 22. ISBN 0-362-00281-9.
  21. ^ Jenkins, Vivian (1982). Rothmans Rugby Yearbook 1981–82. Rothmans Publications Ltd. p. 42. ISBN 0-907574-05-X.
  22. ^ Jenkins, Vivian (1983). Rothmans Rugby Yearbook 1982–83. Rothmans Publications Ltd. p. 24. ISBN 0-907574-13-0.
  23. ^ Fiji Rugby.com Archived 1 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "All Blacks.com". Archived from the original on 22 October 2008. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  25. ^ "Swansea RFC – World champions beaten!". Archived from the original on 24 September 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2008.

External links[edit]