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Early History of Rugby in Wales

January 21, 2022 2 min read

Wales and New Zealand are linked by one mental state, they are both rugby mad. If you head over the bridge from England to Wales, you sense a change in mindset. Football is number one in England, but this is far from the case in Wales. The welsh are a proud rugby nation and have the most electric home arena in rugby, the Principality Cardiff.

The first recorded game in Wales was played between teams from Monmouthshire and an English team from Shropshire. This match took place at New Dock road in Pontypool on the 21st January 1868. The first international fixture was played in 1881 between Wales and England.

The formation of a Welsh team occurred in Neath, South Wales in 1881. The game spread quickly around the country and rugby was especially popular amongst students at University College of Wales, Aberystwyth (then called University College, Wales). This led to the formation of the Cambrian Rugby club in 1885.

The Welsh Rugby Union was formed in Neath on March 6th, 1881. It came about after a meeting between Swansea and Llandovery Colleges illustrating how important rugby was developing within South West Wales. The first official international for this new union was played against England in 1882

Later that year, they travelled to Ireland to secure their first international victory, 2-0. Two years later they got their first victory at home, again against Ireland.

in 1905, Wales played their first South Hemisphere national team, beating 'the original All Blacks' 3-0.

In 1907, Wales won their first Grand Slam, beating France, Ireland, Scotland and England all away from home. They repeated this feat again in 1908. In 2010 in the first 5 Nations Championship, they beat France, Ireland and Wales but lost to England, coming second in the overall standings. The following year, they did one better and achieved a grandslam.

Wales had an incredible record in the 1950s and 1970s, with their results dipping in between.



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