Llanelli RFC

Llanelli RFC
Union Welsh Rugby Union
Nickname(s) Bois Sospan
Founded 1875
Location Llanelli, Wales
Ground(s) Parc y Scarlets (Capacity: 14,870)
President Wales Derek Quinnell
Coach(es) Wales Kevin George
League(s) Principality Premiership
2011–12 2nd[1]
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website

Llanelli Rugby Football Club (Welsh: Clwb Rygbi Llanelli) is a Welsh rugby union club founded in 1875 (though often recorded as 1872[2]) Since the regionalisation of Welsh rugby Llanelli are now a feeder club to the Scarlets regional team.

The club began the 2008–09 season at their historic home ground of Stradey Park in Llanelli, but moved in November 2008 to the new Parc y Scarlets in adjacent Pemberton. Sosban Fach (Welsh for "little saucepan") is a nickname of Llanelli RFC; "Sosban Fach" is the name of a Welsh song, which is sometimes sung by the club's fans during matches as the club anthem. The team colours are scarlet and white.

Club history

The early years

Llanelli RFC was founded on 11 November 1875 when a group of local gentlemen met at the Athenaeum in Llanelli to form a rugby football club.[3] Several sources state that Llanelli formed in 1872, and the club officially celebrated its centenary in 1972; though more recent information suggests that the centenary year was chosen to coincide with the visit of the 1972 touring All Blacks.[3]

The first recorded match was played on 1 January 1876, against Cambria, a team based in Swansea. The result was a draw, but Llanelli were declared winners as they had grounded the ball defensively fewer times than their opponents.[4] Their second match was against Swansea on 5 February 1876, another draw, played at Felinfoel.

During this early period the team played in blue shirts and blue caps at Peoples Park. Llanelli RFC moved to Stradey Park in 1879, switching their colours to blue and white in the same year. The team switched their colours three more times before 1884, adopting black, then rose before switching to red and chocolate quarters.[4]

The Scarlets

In 1884 Llanelli played an Irish XV who stopped off in the town, having played Wales in Cardiff a couple of days previously. In this match the team played in scarlet shirts, and this has remained the club's first colour ever since; it also led to the club's nickname "The Scarlets" and the name of the regional team (Scarlets) nearly 120 years later. Their first major trophies came in 1884 and 1886 with the South Wales Challenge Cup, the forerunner of the modern Welsh Cup. December 1888 saw the team beat a touring New Zealand Natives team by 3–0 with a dropped goal from Harry Bowen. The team claimed their first full international scalp in 1908 when they beat Australia 8–3. This would be the first of many famous victories over touring international sides. Players that wore the Scarlet jersey in this pre-war era included Albert Jenkins, who scored over 121 tries for the club as a centre.

After the war Lewis Jones was one of the stars of the game. He was capped by Wales aged just 18 in 1950, and was instrumental in their Grand Slam win that year. However just two years later, he switched codes from the then amateur rugby union to the professional rugby league and signed for Leeds for a then record amount of £6,000.

Success was however not away from Stradey for long, a victory over Australia came in 1967 and the club was about to enter what many would argue was its strongest era. Players at Llanelli during the 1970s included Ray Gravell, Gareth Jenkins, Delme Thomas, Phil Bennett, and Derek Quinnell; and the team was coached by Carwyn James and assisted by former captain and Wales international hooker Norman Gale.

The Day the Pubs Ran Dry

"9 – 3" is a poem by Welsh comedian and singer Max Boyce and refers to the match between Llanelli and the New Zealand All Blacks at Stradey Park in front of 26,000 supporters on 31 October 1972. Llanelli took a 6–0 lead through a converted try but New Zealand struck back to make it 6–3. A long distance Andy Hill penalty ensured Llanelli emerged victors by 9–3 and the crowd famously ran onto the pitch at the end and carried off players such as Delme Thomas.[5] The poem is best known for the line "The day the pubs ran dry", as huge celebrations followed and many pubs in the town sold out of all alcoholic drinks.[6]

Cup success

The next notable period for Llanelli RFC was during the late 1980s and early 1990s. With players such as Ieuan Evans amongst the squad, Llanelli won the Welsh Cup five times in eight years between 1985 and 1993 including in consecutive seasons in 1991,1992 and 1993. They achieved their most recent success against international opponents when they beat Australia, the world champions at the time, in 1992. Rupert Moon was captain when they won the cup and league which earned Llanelli the title of Best Team in Britain for the 1992–1993 season as well as the nickname "Cup Kings of Wales" due to their success in the Welsh Cup. The late 1990s and early years of the 21st century also produced many Welsh internationals including Rupert Moon, Ricky Evans, Wayne Proctor, Scott Quinnell and Stephen Jones.

The side reached the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup three times: in 2000 against Northampton Saints who went on to win the trophy, in 2002 against Leicester Tigers and in 2007 against Leicester Tigers again. In the first match against Leicester, Llanelli appeared to be going to their first final as they led 12–10 in injury time. But Leicester were awarded a penalty 8 metres inside their own half; Tim Stimpson's kick for goal bounced off both the post and crossbar before just falling over the post to deny Llanelli.

Prior to the regional era, Llanelli RFC were considered the third most successful team in European club rugby, having played the third largest number of games (behind Toulouse and Munster) in the Heineken Cup due to the club's consistency in qualifying for the knockout stages of the tournament. However, they have never won the competition.

The regional era

Top-level professional rugby changed at Llanelli RFC in 2003 when Llanelli's first team rebranded, as part of the WRU's move to 5 professional teams, to Llanelli Scarlets and Llanelli RFC became the club's premiership brand. The Llanelli RFC team plays in the Welsh Premier Division and Welsh Cup. They won the cup in 2005, their first silverware in their new format during which time they were coached by Scott Quinnell.

Match traditions

As a link to the club's team anthem Sosban Fach, there were sosbenni on top of the uprights of both sets of posts at Stradey Park. The saucepans were installed at Parc y Scarlets.

When Llanelli RFC play Bath, it is tradition that a rag doll is hung from the crossbar, which the winning team then keeps until their next encounter. Llanelli RFC won the doll in 2002 and successfully defended it when they played Bath in the Powergen Cup semi-final in 2006. Bath reclaimed the prize in a pre-season game in August 2007 and have won three further fixtures.


The Scarlets play at Parc y Scarlets in Pemberton. From 1879 to 2008 they played at Stradey Park in Llanelli. Planning for the new stadium began in 2004.[7]

Club honours

Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Gareth Havard Prop Wales Wales
Tom Kaijaks Prop Wales Wales
Ben Leung Prop Wales Wales
Sam Martin Prop Wales Wales
Rhys Thomas Prop Wales Wales
Taylor Davies Hooker Wales Wales
Torin Myhill Hooker Wales Wales
Rhydian Gierat Lock Wales Wales
Jack Jones Lock Wales Wales
Chris Long Lock Wales Wales
Adam Powell Lock Wales Wales
Liam Puckett Lock Wales Wales
Owain Morgan Flanker Wales Wales
Tom Phillips Flanker Wales Wales
Jack Condy Number 8 Wales Wales
Trystan Lloyd Number 8 Wales Wales
Elliott Rees Number 8 Wales Wales
Player Position Union
Joshua Guy Scrum-half Wales Wales
Justin James Scrum-half Wales Wales
Connor Salter Scrum-half Wales Wales
Josh Lewis Fly-half Wales Wales
Billy McBryde Fly-half Wales Wales
Paul Davies Centre Wales Wales
Nathan Edwards Centre Wales Wales
Steffan Hughes Centre Wales Wales
Jonny Lewis Centre Wales Wales
Matthew Owen Centre Wales Wales
Gareth Walters Centre Wales Wales
Elliot Dawe Wing Wales Wales
Sam Evans Wing Wales Wales
Andrew Spowart Wing Wales Wales
Ryan Davies Fullback Wales Wales
Dion Jones Fullback Wales Wales

British and Irish Lions

The following former players were selected for the British and Irish Lions touring squads whilst playing for Llanelli RFC.


Wales International Captains

The following former players captained the Wales national rugby union team while playing for Llanelli RFC.

See also Wales rugby union captains


Other notable former Llanelli players

Former Llanelli RFC players who have at some time represented Wales or toured with the British Lions.

See also Category:Llanelli RFC players

Games played against international opposition

Year Date Opponent Result Score Tour
1888 19 December  Māori Win 3–0 1888 New Zealand Native tour
1903 15 January  Canada Won 11–9 1903 Canada rugby tour of the British Isles
1906 29 December  South Africa Loss 3–16 1906 South Africa rugby union tour
1908 17 October  Australia Won 8–3 1908 Australia tour of British Isles and France
1912 19 October  South Africa Loss 7–8 1912-13 South Africa rugby union tour
1924 2 December  New Zealand Lost 3–8 1924–25 New Zealand tour
1926 13 November  Māori Win 3–0 1926-27 New Zealand Māori rugby union tour
1931 24 November  South Africa Loss 0–9 1931-32 South Africa rugby union tour
1935 22 October  New Zealand Loss 8–16 1935–36 New Zealand rugby union tour
1951 23 October  South Africa Loss 11–20 1951-52 South Africa rugby union tour
1953 17 November  New Zealand Loss 3–17 1953/54 All Blacks tour of the British Isles, France and North America
1957 August Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia Win 35–9 Llanelli tour of Russia
1960 13 December  South Africa Loss 0–21 1960-61 South Africa rugby union tour
1963 31 December  New Zealand Loss 8–22 1963/64 All Blacks tour of the British Isles, France and Canada
1967 17 January  Australia Won 11–0 1966–67 Australia rugby union tour
1970 20 January  South Africa Loss 9–10 1969-70 South Africa rugby union tour
1972 31 October  New Zealand Win 9–3 1972-73 New Zealand rugby union tour of the British Isles, France and North America
1974 17 September  Tonga Win 24–15 1974 Tonga Tour to the British Isles
1975 4 November  Australia Draw 28–28 1975-76 Australia rugby union tour of Britain and Ireland
1980 21 October  New Zealand Loss 10–16 1980 All Blacks tour
1982 6 November New ZealandNew Zealand Māori Win 16–9 1982 New Zealand Māori rugby union tour of Wales
1984 20 November  Australia Win 19–16 1984 Australia tour of Britain and Ireland
1985 5 November  Fiji Win 31–28 1985 Fiji rugby union tour of British Isles[8]
1986 16 August  Fiji Loss 12–16 Llanelli at the National Stadium, Suva, Fiji[9]
1989 28 October  New Zealand Loss 0–11 1989 New Zealand rugby union tour
1992 14 November  Australia Win 13–9 1992 Australia rugby union tour of Europe
1995 7 November  Fiji Loss 12–38 1995 Fiji rugby union tour of Wales and Ireland[10]
1997 8 November  New Zealand Loss 3–81 1997 New Zealand rugby union tour of Britain and Ireland



  1. WRU Official Site – Sourced 4 July 2012
  2. The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur Lynch (2008) pp782 ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6
  3. 1 2 Bevan (2005), pg 66.
  4. 1 2 Bevan (2005), pg 67.
  5. The Rugby Clubs of Wales pp76-77, David Parry-Jones (1989) ISBN 0-09-173850-4
  6. "Day the pubs ran dry". BBC News. 31 October 2002. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  7. "Scarlets home in on stadium site". BBC. 1 July 2004. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  8. Fiji Rugby.com Archived 11 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. Fiji Rugby.com Archived 11 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. Robert Cole (10 October 1995). "Wales brace themselves for the giants of Fiji". The Independent. Retrieved 20 June 2008.

External links

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