WRU honours founding clubs

Welsh rugby today celebrates the 130th anniversary of a ground breaking meeting at the Castle Hotel in Neath.

Eleven clubs convened at the hotel on March 12, 1881 in an historical meeting which would go on to shape the national sport of Wales.

The meeting at the Castle Hotel, a coaching inn dating from the seventeenth century, involved 11 clubs from a geographical spread which proved the popularity of the relatively new sport.

Those clubs were Swansea, Lampeter, Llandeilo, Cardiff, Newport, Llanelli, Merthyr, Llandovery, Brecon, Pontypool and Bangor.

To honour the anniversary and their achievements the WRU has today invited representatives of each one of the eleven clubs to attend that RBS 6 Nations match between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium.

WRU Chairman David Pickering, who played for both Neath and then Llanelli of the original 11, said: “I am delighted that representatives of all 11 clubs have been invited to attend the RBS 6 Nations encounter between Wales and Ireland in honour of a great Welsh rugby anniversary.

“By the March of 1881 rugby was already gaining a powerful foothold in Wales but the representatives at that famous meeting could never have foreseen how big the game would become.

“Rugby now thrives at the heart of hundreds of communities in Wales and has become embedded in the culture and fabric of our nation. The atmosphere today’s game will inspire in our Millennium Stadium will stand as testimony to just how popular and important rugby remains to the men and women of Wales.”