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Encyclopedia > Rugby union in Wales

Rugby union is the national sport of Wales and is considered a large part of national culture. Rugby is thought to have reached Wales in the 1850s, with the national body, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) being formed in 1880. The national team play out of the WRU-owned Millennium Stadium, and compete annually in the Six Nations Championship, as well as having competed at every Rugby World Cup. Wales are ranked as a tier-1 nation by the International Rugby Board (IRB). The main domestic competition in Wales is the Magners League, in which Wales have four sides, in the competition which is also contested by Irish and Scottish clubs. Welsh teams also compete in the Europe-Heineken Cup. A rugby union scrum. ... Map of the World showing the most popular sports by nation. ... Motto: (Welsh for Wales forever) Anthem: (Welsh for Land of My Fathers) Capital Cardiff (Caerdydd) Largest city Cardiff (Caerdydd) Official language(s) Welsh, English Government Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister of the UK Tony Blair MP  - First Minister Rhodri Morgan AM Unification    - by Gruffudd ap Llywelyn 1056... The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) (Welsh: Undeb Rygbi Cymru) is the governing body of rugby union in Wales, recognised by the International Rugby Board. ... First international England 30 - 0 Wales (19 February 1881) Largest win Japan 0 - 98 Wales (26 November 2004) Worst defeat South Africa 96 - 13 Wales (27 June 1998) World Cup Appearances 5 (First in 1987) Best result Third 1987 The Wales national rugby union team (also referred to as the... The Millennium Stadium (Welsh: Stadiwm y Mileniwm) in Cardiff is the national stadium of Wales, used primarily for rugby union and football home internationals. ... Six Nations teams The Six Nations Championship (referred to as RBS 6 Nations for sponsorship reasons), known before 2000 as the Five Nations Championship, is an annual international rugby union competition held between six European sides; England, France (since 1910), Ireland, Italy (since 2000), Scotland and Wales. ... The Rugby World Cup trophy, the Webb Ellis Cup. ... The IRB logo. ... The Celtic League is an annual rugby union competition involving regional sides from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, seen by many as the third major league in Europe, after the English Guinness Premiership and the French TOP 14. ... The Heineken Cup sponsored by Heineken (known as the H Cup in France due to alcohol advertising laws) is an annual rugby union competition involving leading club, regional and provincial teams from the Six Nations: England, France, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Italy. ...

Contents

History

Rugby-like games have a long history in Wales, with games such as cnapan being played for centuries. Rugby seems to have reached Wales in the 1850s. Although several clubs had been in existence since the mid 1870s the Welsh Football Union (later renamed Welsh Rugby Union) was not formed until 1880. Wales have played in red since 1880 prior to this they had worn black. However the strength of Welsh rugby developed over the following years, primarily thanks to the 'big four' South Wales clubs of Newport (who lost only seven games between 1891 and 1895), Cardiff, Llanelli (who lost just twice in 1894 and 1895) and Swansea. Cnapan (sometimes spelt Knapan or Knappan) is an archaic sport which vaguely resembles some modern versions of football. ... Based on the east bank of the River Usk, at Rodney Parade, the rugby section of Newport Athletic Club gained itself a world wide reputation in the twentieth century. ... Cardiff Rugby Football Club was founded 1876, playing their first game against Newport. ... Official Website www. ... Swansea Rugby Football Club is a Welsh rugby team which plays in the Welsh Premier Division. ...


The undeniable highpoint of Welsh rugby was the 1970s, when Wales had players such as Barry John, Gareth Edwards, Phil Bennett and JPR Williams. Wales won four consecutive Triple Crowns. All of these players are considered legends, especially Edwards, who was voted the greatest player of all time in a players poll in 2003, and scored what is widely regarded as the greatest try of all time in 1973 for the Barbarians against New Zealand. Barry John (born 6 January 1945 in Cefneithin, Wales) is a Welsh rugby union footballer, considered by many to be the greatest fly-half in the sports history. ... Gareth Edwards, born 12 July 1947 in Pontardawe, Wales, is a former Welsh rugby union footballer who plays scrum-half, considered by many to be the greatest player in the history of the game. ... Phil Bennett (born October 24, 1948) was a Welsh Rugby Union fly half from 1969 to 1978. ... John Peter Rhys Williams (born 2 March 1949 in Cardiff), known universally as JPR Williams, played rugby union for Wales between 1969 and 1981. ... The term Triple Crown is used in several distinct contexts. ... First match Hartlepool Rovers 4 - 9 Barbarians (27 December 1890) Largest win Scotland 31 - 74 Barbarians (24 May 2001) Worst defeat Barbarians 0 - 42 Wales (26 May 2004) The original Barbarians The Barbarian Football Club, typically referred to as Barbarians and nicknamed the Baa-Baas, is an invitational rugby union...


Many attributed Welsh success to the fact that their forwards were toughened by manual work, according to the theory when Welsh industry declined and players started to be drawn from 'soft jobs' the team suffered. The legendarily strong Pontypool front row of Graham Price, Bobby Windsor & Charlie Faulkner were all manual workers, and Robin McBryde was formerly the holder of the title of Wales's strongest man. Pontypool (Welsh: Pont-y-pŵl) is a town of approximately 37,000 people in the traditional county of Monmouthshire, southern Wales. ... Graham Price (born 24 November 1951 in Moascar, Egypt) was a rugby union player who won 41 caps for Wales as a prop forward. ... Robert William Windsor (born 31 January 1946 in Newport), nicknamed The Duke, gained 28 rugby union caps for Wales as a hooker between 1973 and 1979. ... Robin Currie McBryde (born 3 July 1970 in Bangor), is a former rugby union player who gained 37 rugby union caps for Wales as a hooker between 1994 and 2005. ...


The 1980s and early '90s were a difficult time for Welsh rugby union when the team suffered many defeats. Harsh economic times in the eighties meant that players such as Jonathan Davies and Scott Gibbs were always tempted to 'go North' to play professional rugby league in order to earn a living. They often faced social ostracism as a result as many believed that they were traitors to Wales. Professionalism has halted this flow of players, but the Welsh Rugby Union is still relatively poor, citing lack of funds as the reason for the recent demise of the Celtic Warriors regional team. Jonathan Davies Born in Trimsaran, Carmarthenshire in 1962, Jonathan Davies MBE is the son of Len and Diana Davies. ... Scott Gibbs (Born 23 January 1971 in Bridgend) is a former rugby union footballer who represented Wales and the Lions in Union and Wales and Great Britain in League. ... Rugby league is a team sport played by two teams of 17 players, with 13 on the field at any one time and 4 on the bench (reserves). ... The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) (Welsh: Undeb Rygbi Cymru) is the governing body of rugby union in Wales, recognised by the International Rugby Board. ... The Celtic Warriors were a regional Rugby Union team from Wales, playing in the Celtic League and European Rugby Cup/European Rugby Shield. ...


The choral tradition of Wales manifests itself at rugby games in singing. Popular songs among the fans are 'Delilah' by Tom Jones, 'Cwm Rhondda' and 'Calon Lan'. Considering the small size of Wales, it has had a disproportionate impact on the game, providing many legendary British and Irish Lions and Barbarians players, as well as fighting well above its weight in the international game. Sir Tom Jones OBE (born Thomas Jones Woodward, June 7, 1940), is a Welsh singer particularly noted for his powerful voice. ... Cwm Rhondda, the Welsh name for the Rhondda Valley, is a popular hymn tune written by John Hughes (1873-1932) and usually used as a setting for William Williams text Guide me, O thou great redeemer (or, in the Methodist and Baptist traditions, Jehovah), originally Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch... Calon Lân is a Welsh hymn, whose words were written in the 1800s by Daniel James (23 January 1848 - 11 March 1920) to a tune by John Hughes (1872-1914). ... First match Otago 3 - 8 Lions (as Great Britain) (28 April 1888) Largest win Argentina 0 - 46 Lions (7 August 1927) Worst defeat New Zealand 38 - 6 Lions (16 July 1983) The British and Irish Lions rugby union side comprises a pick of the best players from England, Ireland, Scotland... First match Hartlepool Rovers 4 - 9 Barbarians (27 December 1890) Largest win Scotland 31 - 74 Barbarians (24 May 2001) Worst defeat Barbarians 0 - 42 Wales (26 May 2004) The original Barbarians The Barbarian Football Club, typically referred to as Barbarians and nicknamed the Baa-Baas, is an invitational rugby union...


Governing body

Main article: Welsh Rugby Union

The Welsh Rugby Union is the governing body for rugby union in Wales. Their responsibilities include producing the national team and the four regional franchises Cardiff Blues, Llanelli Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons and the Ospreys from the Neath-Swansea region. The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) (Welsh: Undeb Rygbi Cymru) is the governing body of rugby union in Wales, recognised by the International Rugby Board. ... First international England 30 - 0 Wales (19 February 1881) Largest win Japan 0 - 98 Wales (26 November 2004) Worst defeat South Africa 96 - 13 Wales (27 June 1998) World Cup Appearances 5 (First in 1987) Best result Third 1987 The Wales national rugby union team (also referred to as the... Official website www. ... The Llanelli Scarlets are a Welsh professional rugby union team based in south-west Wales. ... The Newport Gwent Dragons (Welsh: Dreigiau Gwent Casnewydd) are a Rugby Union team from Wales. ... Official website www. ... Neath (Welsh: Castell-Nedd) is a town and community with a population of approximately 45,898, located on the river of the same name (Welsh: Afon Nedd) in the traditional county of Glamorgan, south Wales. ... Swansea (Welsh: , mouth of the Tawe) is a city in Wales and a Welsh County. ...


Competitions

Wales' four professional rugby regions play in the Celtic League and take part in the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup. in 2006 they also took part in the Powergen Cup. The Celtic League is an annual rugby union competition involving regional sides from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, seen by many as the third major league in Europe, after the English Guinness Premiership and the French TOP 14. ... The Heineken Cup sponsored by Heineken (known as the H Cup in France due to alcohol advertising laws) is an annual rugby union competition involving leading club, regional and provincial teams from the Six Nations: England, France, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Italy. ... The European Challenge Cup in rugby union, known as the Parker Pen Shield from 2001 to 2003 and Parker Pen Challenge Cup from 2003, is the sister competition to the Heineken Cup. ... The Powergen Cup (centre) seen in the London Irish clubhouse at Sunbury in 2002. ...


There is also a Welsh league and Welsh Cup competed for by Wales' traditional club teams. Recently there have been talks about the potential founding of a regional rugby franchise in the north of Wales, starting with a semi-professional team in the Welsh Premier Division. Welsh Premier Division Logo The Welsh Premier Division (also called the Principality Premiership for sponsorship reasons) is a rugby union league in Wales. ... The WRU Challenge Cup (currently known as the Minolta Cup due to sponsorship) is Wales premier knockout rugby union competition. ...


Popularity

Rugby union has a particular hold on the national psyche of Wales, especially the Six Nations tournament. The phenomenon of fans inexplicably claiming to be ill and taking sick leave around the Six Nations championship was described in Max Boyce's 'We All Had Doctor's Papers.' Welsh people living outside the country will go to extraordinary lengths to watch the games, although the game has never really been popular in north Wales due to the overwhelming popularity of football in the region. The Six Nations Championship (referred to as RBS 6 Nations for sponsorship reasons), (2000-) formerly known as the Five Nations Championship, is an annual international rugby union competition held between six European sides; England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. ... The Six Nations Championship (referred to as RBS 6 Nations for sponsorship reasons), (2000-) formerly known as the Five Nations Championship, is an annual international rugby union competition held between six European sides; England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. ...


At the time of the 1999 World Cup held in Cardiff, Graham Henry, the new Welsh coach, was relatively unexposed to Welsh culture. Despite coming from New Zealand, a country with notoriously passionate rugby followers, he was taken aback by the fervour of Welsh supporters: he was somewhat surprised for example when informed of one supporter's decision to sell the lead off the roof of his house to be able to buy World Cup tickets. The 1999 Rugby World Cup which was hosted by Wales, broke new ground as for the first time the big eight nations did not qualify automatically. ... Cardiff (English:  Welsh: ) is the capital of Wales and its largest city. ... Graham Henry (born 8 June 1946 in Christchurch) is a New Zealand rugby union coach, currently head coach of the countrys storied national team, the All Blacks. ... Daffodils. ... For PB or pb as an abbreviation, see PB. General Name, Symbol, Number lead, Pb, 82 Chemical series poor metals Group, Period, Block 14, 6, p Appearance bluish white Atomic mass 207. ...


The Wales-England match of the 2005 Six Nations, achieved international attention far beyond the usual interest that would have followed a rugby match. Before the match, a Welsh support that was drinking in the Leigh social club in Senghenydd, Caerphilly, declared that he was so certain that England would win, that if Wales won he would "cut [his] balls off". After Wales achieved their first win over England since 1999, Huish returned home, castrated himself and returned to the pub with his testicles in a bag.[1][2] The 2005 Six Nations Championship was the sixth edition of the Rugby Union Six Nations Championship to be held since the competition expanded in 2000 to include Italy. ... Caerphilly Castle Caerphilly (Welsh: Caerffili) is a town in Glamorgan, Wales, located at the bottom of the Rhymney Valley. ... 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... The testicles, or testes (singular testis), are the male generative glands in animals. ...


For the match against Scotland in 2005, 40,000 Welshmen went to Edinburgh to watch the game. This is remarkable as that is 1 in every 70 Welshmen. Over 10,000 gathered on "Henson Hill" to watch a big screen of Wales v. Ireland that gave Wales its first Grand Slam since 1978. The result was greeted with national delirium and was even used to explain a sudden economic surge. Gavin Lloyd Henson (born February 1, 1982 in Bridgend) is a Welsh rugby union player who plays for the Ospreys regional side in the Celtic League and Heineken Cup, and the national team. ...


Statistics

According to the IRB, Wales has 239 rugby union clubs; 2321 referees; 28,702 pre-teen male players; 21,371 teen male players; 19,000 senior male players (total male players 69,073) as well as 1,000 teen female players; 1,056 senior female players (total female players 2,056).[3] The IRB logo. ...


Demographics

Whereas Rugby in England fractured into the two separate sports of rugby union and rugby league over the issue of money, Wales for the most part stayed loyal to the union game. There were some attempts to run professional rugby league sides in Wales but the heartland of Welsh rugby was simply too far from Yorkshire and Lancashire for this to be sustained. Rugby union in Wales therefore did not become as elitist as it did in England. A rugby union scrum. ... Rugby league is a team sport played by two teams of 17 players, with 13 on the field at any one time and 4 on the bench (reserves). ... Rugby league is a team sport played by two teams of 17 players, with 13 on the field at any one time and 4 on the bench (reserves). ... Look up Yorkshire in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Lancashire is a county in North West England, bounded to the west by the Irish Sea. ...


There has always been an element of class warfare to rugby union in Wales - it was seen as a way to symbolically take revenge on England, the ruling rugby power, particularly as England's team is often made up of upper middle class players from private schools. Class conflict is both the friction that accompanies social relationships between members or groups of different social classes and the underlying tensions or antagonisms which exist in society. ... Motto: (French for God and my right) Anthem: God Save the King/Queen Capital London (de facto) Largest city London Official language(s) English (de facto) Unification    - by Athelstan AD 927  Area    - Total 130,395 km² (1st in UK)   50,346 sq mi  Population    - 2006 est. ... The term public school has two contrary meanings: In England, one of a small number of prestigious historic schools open to the public which normally charge fees and are financed by bodies other than the state, commonly as private charitable trusts; here the word public is used much as in...


In 1977 Phil Bennett's pre-game pep talk before facing England produced a memorable quote: "Look what these bastards have done to Wales. They've taken our coal, our water, our steel. They buy our houses and they only live in them for a fortnight every 12 months. What have they given us? Absolutely nothing. We've been exploited, raped, controlled and punished by the English - and that's who you are playing this afternoon." Phil Bennett (born October 24, 1948) was a Welsh Rugby Union fly half from 1969 to 1978. ...


The Welsh valleys north of Cardiff produced so many quality number tens that it was often referred to as 'The Outside Half Factory' immortalised in a song by Max Boyce. Boyce's humour refers to rugby union very often and he has written many songs about the trials and tribulations of following the game as a fan e.g. 'Asso Asso Yogoshi', 'The Scottish Trip', 'Hymns and Arias'. Cardiff (English:  Welsh: ) is the capital of Wales and its largest city. ... Max Boyce, MBE (born 7 September 1945) is a Welsh comedian and singer, who came to national fame during the mid-1970s as a result of the phenomenal success of the Welsh rugby team of that period. ...


The national team

Wales compete annually in the Six Nations, which they have thus far won 23 times, the last being in 2005. Wales have also qualified for every World Cup that has been held, and achieved their so far best result in the 1987 tournament, when they finished third. The national team play at the Millennium Stadium, built in 1999 to replace Cardiff Arms Park. Wales play in scarlet jerseys, white shorts and red socks, with the jersey having the Prince of Wales's feathers. Every four years the British and Irish Lions go on tour with players from Wales as well as England, Ireland and Scotland. First international England 30 - 0 Wales (19 February 1881) Largest win Japan 0 - 98 Wales (26 November 2004) Worst defeat South Africa 96 - 13 Wales (27 June 1998) World Cup Appearances 5 (First in 1987) Best result Third 1987 The Wales national rugby union team (also referred to as the... The Rugby World Cup trophy, the Webb Ellis Cup. ... The first Rugby World Cup took place in New Zealand and Australia in 1987, and was won by New Zealand. ... The Millennium Stadium (Welsh: Stadiwm y Mileniwm) in Cardiff is the national stadium of Wales, used primarily for rugby union and football home internationals. ... Cardiff Arms Park is a stadium complex situated in the centre of Cardiff, Wales. ... Scarlet is a color with a hue between red and orange. ... The badge of the Prince of Wales The Prince of Waless feathers is the heraldic badge of the Prince of Wales. ... First match Otago 3 - 8 Lions (as Great Britain) (28 April 1888) Largest win Argentina 0 - 46 Lions (7 August 1927) Worst defeat New Zealand 38 - 6 Lions (16 July 1983) The British and Irish Lions rugby union side comprises a pick of the best players from England, Ireland, Scotland...


See also

Football games of various types were played long before the 19th century but it was not until the middle of that century that rules were formulated and codified. ... The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) (Welsh: Undeb Rygbi Cymru) is the governing body of rugby union in Wales, recognised by the International Rugby Board. ... First international England 30 - 0 Wales (19 February 1881) Largest win Japan 0 - 98 Wales (26 November 2004) Worst defeat South Africa 96 - 13 Wales (27 June 1998) World Cup Appearances 5 (First in 1987) Best result Third 1987 The Wales national rugby union team (also referred to as the... The Celtic League is an annual rugby union competition involving regional sides from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, seen by many as the third major league in Europe, after the English Guinness Premiership and the French TOP 14. ... Official website www. ... The Llanelli Scarlets are a Welsh professional rugby union team based in south-west Wales. ... The Newport Gwent Dragons (Welsh: Dreigiau Gwent Casnewydd) are a Rugby Union team from Wales. ... Official website www. ... Welsh Premier Division Logo The Welsh Premier Division (also called the Principality Premiership for sponsorship reasons) is a rugby union league in Wales. ... The WRU Challenge Cup (currently known as the Minolta Cup due to sponsorship) is Wales premier knockout rugby union competition. ... There is a long history of rugby league in Wales. ... // Sport plays a prominent role in British life and many Britons make a great emotional investment in their favourite spectator sports. ...

References

  1. ^ Welsh rugby fan cuts off own testicles. icwales.co.uk. Retrieved on 15 March 2005.
  2. ^ Rugby fan cuts off testicles in a bet. tvnz.co.nz.com. Retrieved on 15 March 2005.
  3. ^ Welsh R.U.. irb.com. Retrieved on 8 April 2006.

March 15 is the 74th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (75th in Leap years). ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... March 15 is the 74th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (75th in Leap years). ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... April 8 is the 98th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (99th in leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

  • The BBC's Welsh rugby union news page
  • IC Wales's rugby union news page
  • Welsh rugby discussion forum
  • Welsh rugby forum
  • Welsh rugby news & Message Board

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