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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.
 
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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.

Dai Westacott’s Gold Watch

Objects from the online Cardiff Rugby Museum #3

There is an inscribed gold pocket watch in the Cardiff Rugby Museum collection which belonged to the Cardiff and Wales forward, David “Dai” Westacott. Although it is a striking acknowledgement of what is arguably Cardiff’s finest ever season in 1905-6, it is also a reminder of the darker times which lay ahead for that era’s players and supporters in years to come.
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The Cardiff Game

Objects from the online Cardiff Rugby Museum #2
Over the past few months a great deal of work has been going on to catalogue all the artefacts in the Hubert Johnson room. Some of the items have been temporarily packed away and put into safe storage whilst other items have been rearranged into the current display. Choosing a favourite from the items we have is difficult, but I think of all the items of Memorabilia from Cardiff and the international Rugby world that one of my favourite items is actually sited in the members' bar. Many of you may not even have noticed it, or barely given it a second glance whilst others may have seen it but not realised it’s significance.
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A Moment in Time

Objects from the online Cardiff Rugby Museum #1

This is the first in a series of monthly blogs highlighting various objects, both old and new, from the online Cardiff Rugby Museum. In the year in which we are celebrating the centenary of the Royal Air Force, it seems fitting that we start with two items that form a small part of the RAF story. These are an RAF cap from 1919-1920 and an RAF tie, both of which are shown below:

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