Pontypridd Rugby Football Club are a rugby union team from Wales, playing in the Welsh Premier Division.
Pontypridd RFC are generally accepted to have been formed in 1876 by a number of young local men who had moved into the area during the Industrial Revolution of the late 19th Century. They were represented at the formation meeting of the Welsh Rugby Union in 1880 and had a player (Edward Treharne) named in the very first Welsh International side in 1881.
In their early days, Pontypridd RFC played their home games at Taff Vale Park in Treforest before moving to the People's Park alongside the Rhondda River. However in 1908 they moved once more to a new home in Ynysyngharad Park in Pontypridd itself, where they would stay for 65 years.
Often regarded as one of the more unfashionable Welsh clubs even then (unsurprising considering the stature of Llanelli, Swansea, Neath, Cardiff and Newport as the Big Five at the time), players often found it hard to break into the international team while at Pontypridd, meaning a number would leave for greener pastures each season. Despite this the club were consistently successful, pulling out a string of top-ten performances in the unofficial Welsh league, a competition they won for the first time in the 1962/1963 season.
However the 1970s would bring Pontypridd its first period of real success. Following the redevelopment of the A470 trunk road near their home ground, the team moved to its current home of Sardis Road in Pontypridd in 1974. This move was immediately followed by success in the unofficial league championship, winning it in 1975/1976, 1977/1978 and 1978/1979 whilst never falling from the top four for seven years under the captaincy of two of Pontypridd's greatest ever players - Bob Penberthy and Tom David.
The 1990s saw a huge change in Welsh rugby, especially with the inauguration of the first official Welsh leagues in 1990. Pontypridd were placed in the top (first) division for that season and have never yet been out of the top-level in the Welsh game. They consistently finished in the top five, quite an achievement considering some of the clubs around them were considered much bigger names. Third places in 1991/92, 1993/94 and 1995/96 plus a runner up finish to Cardiff RFC in 1994/95 was a good a promising return for the club.
However it was in 1996 that the team would win its first official major honour, beating Neath RFC in the final of the Welsh Cup, a match still considered one of the best ever. They repeated this achievement again in 2002 and 2006. The following season (1997) saw them win the Welsh League, narrowly over the same opponents. Both of these successes were obtained by what many consider Pontypridd's best ever team, lead by Nigel Bezani and including players such as Ritchie Collins, Neil Jenkins and Dale McIntosh.
From then until 2003 Pontypridd consistently finished in the top five of the league but failed to challenge for top spot (and to qualify for the Heineken Cup - Europe's top tournament) as they struggled to cope with the added financial pressures of the newly professional game, losing a number of players to larger clubs and relying heavily upon its much admired youth academy system. However in 2003 the WRU would change the game in Wales forever with the advent of Welsh Regional Rugby.
After much negotiation and rumour of a merger with local rivals Cardiff RFC, Pontypridd finally found themselves in a partnership with Bridgend RFC, forming the Celtic Warriors that would represent the whole of the South Wales Valleys region.
However financial difficulties at Pontypridd lead the team to sell its stake in the Warriors to Bridgend RFC benefactor Leighton Samuel and all games were moved away from Sardis Road before the club was controversially dissolved by the WRU in the summer of 2004.
They were then as a semi pro side placed under the umbrella of Cardiff Blues by the WRU, Pontypridd continue to be the top team in the Glamorganshire South Wales valleys and are considered by many of their fans to be the valleys' representative side.
In 2005 Pontypridd were beaten finalists in the Welsh Challenge Cup, narrowly losing to Llanelli 24-25, having been leading 24-8 with only 10 minutes remaining until a former Pontypridd player Neil Boobyer entered the fray and stole the cup from under their noses.
The following year they would go one better and on Saturday May 6th 2006 Pontypridd beat Neath 26-25 to win the Welsh Challenge Cup (currently called the Konica-Minolta Cup after the sponsors of the tournament) in a well fought final at the Millennium Stadium. Neath were pre-match favourites having recently secured the Welsh Premier league by a large points margin, and going into the game chasing a league and cup 'double'. This was a replay of the classic 1996 final, when Pontypridd had also stopped Neath 'doing the double'.
Pontypridd RFC play their home games at Sardis Road, Pontypridd, South Wales, with their junior section playing at Taff Vale Park and Pontypridd High School Fields, Cilfynydd.
From the M4: Take Junction 32 onto the A470 following the signs for Merthyr Tydfil. Take the exit signposted Pontypridd and Ynysybwl and follow the road around to the left. At the traffic lights, head right towards the Rhondda Valleys. After passing Pontypridd Train Station on your left, the road veers around to the left under a bridge, take the first left at the traffic lights, and Pontypridd Rugby Football Club is on your right.
From North Wales: Follow the A470 for Cardiff, and take the exit signposted Pontypridd and Ynysybwl. At the roundabout take the third exit heading back towards the A470, at the next roundabout, take the second exit for Pontypridd and the Rhondda Valleys. At the traffic lights, head right towards the Rhondda Valleys. After passing Pontypridd Train Station on your left, the road veers around to the left under a bridge, take the first left at the traffic lights, and Pontypridd Rugby Football Club is on your right
From Aberdare, Merthyr Tydfil or Treherbert: The Cardiff trains will take you directly to Pontypridd.
From all other locations: Change at Cardiff Central or Cardiff Queen Street for trains to Pontypridd.
At Pontypridd station, leave through the main exit and head left past Capel Sardis (Sardis Chapel). The road veers around to the left under a bridge, take the first left at the traffic lights, and Pontypridd Rugby Football Club is on your right.
Ponty Rugby Ltd
Rhondda Cynon Taff
Tel: 01443 405 006
Fax: 01443 407 087
- Western Mail Welsh Championship Winners - 1962/1963, 1975/1976, 1977/1978, 1978/1979
- WRU Merit Table Winners - 1975/1976
- WRU Merit Table Runner up - 1977/1978, 1978/1979
- Welsh Premier Division - 1996/1997
- Welsh League Runners Up - 1994/1995
- Welsh Cup Winners - 1995/1996, 2001/2002, 2005/2006
- Welsh Cup Runners up - 1978/1979,1994/1995, 1996/1997, 2004/2005
- Champions Challenge Cup Winners - 1997
- European Rugby Shield Runners Up - 2001/2002
Notable Former Players
- Brent Cockbain (Lock) - Wales International
- Tom David - Wales/British Lions International
- Mefin Davies (Hooker) - Wales International
- Graham Gittins
- Dafydd James (Wing/Centre) - Wales International
- Gethin Jenkins (Prop) - Wales International
- Neil Jenkins (Outside-Half) - Wales/British Lions International, World Record Points Scorer
- Phil John (Hooker) - Wales International
- Paul John (Scrum Half) - Wales International
- Geraint Lewis (Back-Row) - Wales International
- Kevin Morgan (Full-back) - Wales International
- Michael Owen - Wales/British Lions International, Back row
- Sonny Parker (Centre) - Wales International
- Richard Parks (Flanker) - Wales International
- Bob Penberthy - Record Appearances
- Robert Sidoli (Lock) - Wales International
- Karl Swain - Record Try Scorer
- Ceri Sweeney (Outside-Half) - Wales International
- Lee Thomas (Centre/Outside-Half) - Wales Youth International
- Edward Treharne - Played in first Welsh International game 1981
- Jock Watkins
- Gareth Wyatt (Wing) - Wales International
- Rhys Shellard (Openside Flanker)
Tel: 01443 405006