The 1893 Triple Crown and the Triumph of the "Cardiff Game"

In 1893 Wales won their first ever Triple Crown, a triumph that, in the words of JBG Thomas, “set the Welsh believing that rugby football could be their national game.” It was also a vindication of the four three-quarter system devised at Cardiff, proving that it could work on an international level, and after this other teams started to see the benefits and gradually adopt the system that is used today.

The Eventful Life of Georges Mergault

The Stade Français and Cardiff RFC Wing Three-Quarter 
With Cardiff Blues drawing Stade Français in this year’s European Challenge Cup, this is perhaps an appropriate time to highlight a couple of recent additions to the Museum. These relate to a Stade Français and Stade Nantais player, Georges Mergault, who led an eventful life and who wrote about his experiences with Cardiff RFC before the First World War. 

The Greatest Uncapped Cardiff XV

There have been many greatest XV teams on social media in current weeks following the ongoing coronavirus lockdown. CF10 Trust and Cardiff Blues have also got in on the act with readers being able to vote for their selections by those names being put forward. It has certainly been entertaining seeing people’s thoughts, and that’s why I was delighted when Cardiff Rugby Museum asked me to put together a greatest XV, but this time look at a greatest team of uncapped players who have graced the field playing rugby for Cardiff.

The Bleddyn Williams Collection Online

22nd February 2020

Today would have been the 97th birthday of Cardiff rugby legend Bleddyn Williams. Playing centre for the city team, he made 283 appearances over the course of ten seasons, bagging 185 tries in the process. He also established a club try scoring record of 41 for the season 1947-8, a record that stood for almost fifty years before being surpassed by Steve Ford. Bleddyn also gained twenty-two Welsh and five Lions caps.

The Cardiff Bear

Long before the days of Bruiser, Cardiff RFC also had its own bear mascot. It was acquired originally for the South Africa tour in 1967 and was described by a player of that era as a “king size teddy bear dressed in full playing kit with a cap and boots and even a number (24) on its back" The bear wore a Keith Rowlands scarf in honour of the captain who was unable to lead his side on that tour as a result of injury. The bear was named “ Shaunee “ though nobody seems to remember why.

The Earliest Photograph of a Women’s Team?

Objects from the online Cardiff Rugby Museum #6
The now-famous photograph of the Cardiff Ladies XV in the Cardiff clubhouse is believed to be the oldest known image of a women’s rugby team. It can be dated precisely, because it was taken on 15th December 1917, just before the players went out to meet their Newport rivals at the Arms Park. The encounter between Cardiff and Newport that day was therefore a significant event and it has long enjoyed a strong claim to being the first genuine game of women’s rugby played in the public arena.

Rugby “Football or Life in Cardiff”

Objects from the online Cardiff Rugby Museum #5
The popular play, “Alone It Stands”, was a highly successful theatrical re-enactment of Munster’s historic 1978 victory over the All Blacks. It was first performed in 1999 but that was not the first occasion on which rugby was portrayed on the stage. Not by a long way. It is always risky to claim to be the “first” or the “earliest” in anything associated with the game, but there is strong evidence that rugby made its theatrical debut as long ago as 1886 in Cardiff.

One Thousand and Counting

Objects from the online Cardiff Rugby Museum #4
Over the summer the Cardiff Rugby Museum website has had a re-vamp including the creation of a new grid view, making it easier to browse objects and the site is also now much more mobile friendly. Many new objects have been added to the collection which can be viewed in the newly added Recent Objects section, also a number of the existing objects have had new photographs or scans uploaded.