|Full name||Newport Rugby Football Club|
|Union||Welsh Rugby Union|
|Nickname(s)||Black & Ambers|
|Location||Newport, South Wales|
|Ground(s)||Rodney Parade, Newport (Capacity: 8,500)|
|Most caps||David Waters, 702|
|Top scorer||Daniel Griffiths, 1,551|
|Most tries||Arthur Gould, 159|
|League(s)||Welsh Premier Division|
Newport Rugby Football Club is a Welsh rugby union club based in the city of Newport, South Wales. They presently play in the Welsh Premier Division. Newport RFC are based at Rodney Parade situated on the east bank of the River Usk. Due to the regionalisation of Welsh rugby in 2003 Newport RFC is now a feeder club to Newport Gwent Dragons regional team.
Every major rugby union touring team to visit Wales has played at Rodney Parade, and all of them were beaten at least once in the twentieth century by a side who, in 1951, played in the match at Cardiff RFC that attracted what was, a world-record crowd of 48,500 for a rugby union match between two clubs.
In addition to matches against all the major national sides a highlight of the Newport season was the annual match against the Barbarians, ensuring that the Newport fans enjoyed watching world-class players to supplement the Welsh internationals who were a common feature of the 'Black and Ambers'.
Newport supplied over 150 players to the Wales national team and international players to England, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa, Czech Republic, Canada and Fiji as well as over 80 Barbarians.
Newport RFC were formed in 1874 under the financial backing of the Phillips brewing family, and the playing talents of former pupils of Monmouth School, a public school which had adopted rugby union in 1873. Newport was originally intended as an association football club, but was unable to find any opponents, but they managed to organise a rugby match against Cardiff RFC, and in 1875 played Cardiff in both clubs' first-ever game.
Newport’s early success was remarkable, winning every single match in their first four seasons between 1875 and 1879. They were also successful in other tournaments winning the first two South Wales Cup competitions. The club’s strength was reflected at international level, providing more players to the Welsh national team than any other club in the nineteenth century, including four captains. In 1881 Newport was one of the eleven clubs present at the forming of the Welsh Rugby Football Union, and provided six players in the first Welsh international match, more than any other club.
Partially due to their geographical location Newport also played against more established clubs from England and in 1878 a game was arranged against Manchester Athletic followed by games against Birmingham, Clifton, Gloucester and Swindon. Their dominance led Newport’s club secretary, Richard Mulloch to arrange a match against the English domestic champions Blackheath Rugby Club. With a record attendance of 5,000 spectators Newport were out-classed by their opponents, losing four goals and eight tries to nil. However, Newport had played two games in the previous five days and Blackheath brought in outside players to bolster their squad.
In October 1879 Newport played Cardiff RFC in a floodlit game at Rodney Parade; the first ground to have floodlights installed in Wales.
In 1887, Newport player Charlie Newman was given the captaincy of the Welsh national team, he was the first Newport player to achieve this honour. In 1887 Newport player Tom Clapp was given the Wales captaincy and in 1888 he led the first Welsh side to beat Scotland, a team that included Newport players Powell and Gould. During the 1891–92 season, under captain Tom Graham Newport went unbeaten, winning 29 games and drawing four. Graham brought a new professional attitude to the team, introducing weekly gym training and an avoidance of alcohol.
In 1912 Newport hosted the touring South Africa national team, and beat them 9 points to 3.
- Invincible in 1922–23
- Welsh Club Champions 1920,1923.
- Provided 5 Welsh, 1 English and 1 Irish captains.
- Provided 6 British Lions.
- Golden era of Wetter, Uzzell, Griffiths, Morley, Bunner Travers etc.
- Golden era of Jones, Burnett, Thomas, Meredith, Price, Watkins, Jarrett etc.
- Beat Australia 1957, NZ 1963, SA 1969, Tonga 1974.
- Welsh Club Champions 1951, 1956, 1962, 1969.
- Won Welsh Merit Table and Anglo-Welsh Merit Table.
- Provided 7 Welsh, 1 Czech Rep, 2 Canadian, 1 Fijian captains.
- Provided 15 British Lions.
- Introduced 7’s to Wales and won Snellings 10 times and R/U 9 times.
- One of pioneers of floodlights in Wales.
- Introduced squad systems / players playing on rota in Wales.
- Won Welsh Cup twice, R/U 3 times.
- Welsh Premier League winners and R/U – twice.
In 1963 Newport, captained by Brian Price, claimed perhaps their greatest victory by defeating New Zealand led by Wilson Whineray 3–0. This turned out to be the All Blacks only defeat on their 1963 tour. The club was granted Freedom of the City of Newport on the 50th anniversary of this victory.
- South Wales Cup 1878, 1879, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1890.
- Unofficial Welsh Club Champions; 1894–95; 1895–96; 1902–03; 1909–10; 1911–12; 1919–20; 1922–23; 1950–51; 1955–56; 1961–62; 1968–69;
- Snelling Sevens 1954, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1985.
- Welsh Cup 1977, 2001.
- Welsh Division One Winners 1990–91
- Welsh Premier League Winners 2003–04.
British and Irish Lions
The following former players were selected for the British and Irish Lions touring squads whilst playing for Newport RFC. Newport hold the record for the number of players from one club selected for a British Lions Tour with eight Newport players being selected for the 1910 British Lions tour to South Africa.
Wales International Captains
The following former players captained the Wales national rugby union team whilst playing for Newport RFC.
Other notable former players
Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.
Games played against international opposition
- Smith, David; Williams, Gareth (1980). Fields of Praise: The Official History of The Welsh Rugby Union. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 0-7083-0766-3.
- The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur Lynch (2008) pp782 ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6
- Newport RFC – Sourced 28 October 2012
- Parry-Jones, David (1989). The Rugby Clubs of Wales. p. 96. ISBN 0-09-173850-4.
- Smith (1980), pg 25.
- Smith (1980), pg 23.
- "Interesting Facts". historyofnewport.co.uk. Archived from the original on 21 August 2007. Retrieved 17 November 2007.
- Smith (1980), pg 34.
- Smith (1980), pg 41.
- Smith (1980), pg 40.
- Smith (1980), pg 35.
- Smith (1980), pg 71.
- Smith (1980), pg 189.
- Newport beat New Zealand.
- "Newport rugby freedom presentation". Newport City Council. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
- Smith (1980), pg 485.
- Newport RFC Squad