Neath, mostly with near neighbours Aberavon have faced many touring teams, opposition teams have found the rugby hard and uncompromising, our record on paper against the major touring sides is a poor one, a 100% losing record, but teams leave Neath, or Aberavon knowing they've been in a rugby match. Please see below for information about the touring teams that have faced Neath and click on the links to the right for more information on each match.  


Neath & Aberavon 0 - Australia 15, 15 Oct 1908 - CLICK HERE

Neath 3 - South Africa 8, 19 Dec 1912  - CLICK HERE

Neath & Aberavon 5, New South Wales Waratahs 24, 24 Sep 1927 - CLICK HERE

Neath & Aberavon 3 - South Africa 8, 28 Nov 1931 - CLICK HERE

Neath & Aberavon 3 - New Zealand 13, 14 Dec 1935 - CLICK HERE

Neath & Aberavon 15 - New Zealand Services 'Kiwis' 22, 3 Nov 1945 - CLICK HERE

Neath & Aberavon 9 - Australia 19, 25 Oct 1947  - CLICK HERE

Neath & Aberavon 0 - South Africa 22, 17 Nov 1951 - CLICK HERE

Neath & Aberavon 5 - New Zealand 11, 23 Jan 1954 - CLICK HERE

Neath & Aberavon 3 - Australia 5, 28 Dec 1957 - CLICK HERE

Neath & Aberavon 5 - South Africa 25, 14 Jan 1961 - CLICK HERE

Neath & Aberavon 6 - New Zealand 11, 2 Nov 1963 - CLICK HERE

Neath & Aberavon 3 - Australia 9, 29 Oct 1966 - CLICK HERE

Neath & Aberavon 0 - South Africa 27, 10 Dec 1969  - CLICK HERE

Neath & Aberavon 3 - New Zealand 43, 24 Jan 1973 - CLICK HERE

Neath 21 - Japan 21, 15 Oct 1983  - CLICK HERE

Neath 6 - USA 15, 31 Oct 1987 - CLICK HERE

Neath 15 - New Zealand 26, 25 Oct 1989 - CLICK HERE

Neath 8 - Australia 16, 11 Nov 1992 - CLICK HERE

Neath 13 - South Africa 16, 2 Nov 1994  - CLICK HERE

Neath 30 - Fiji 22, 2 Nov 1994 - CLICK HERE

Neath 39 - USA 15, 4 Jan 1997 - CLICK HERE


Neath & Aberavon 0 - Australia 15, 15 Oct 1908 - The Gnoll


Neath & Aberavon:  Dick Hughes (N), W. R. Thomas (A) (Capt), Arthur James (A), Frank Rees (N), J. D. D. Davies (N), Alby Davies, (A) and Shon Evans (N), D. H. Davies (Vice-Capt), Tom Lloyd, W. Sandham, Tom Thomas (N), W. J. Davies (A), W. James (A), George Vickery (A) and Will James (A).

Australia: P. Carmichael, D. Carroll, W. Dix, J Hickey, and C. Russell, F. Woods, C Mckivatt; Dr Moran (Capt), J. T. Barnett, T Griffin, P. McCue, A. E Middleton, W. E Row, T. J. Richards and E. McIntyre

Touch Judge: Mr J. S. Mills, Chairman Neath R.F.C

Referee: Mr. Edgar John (Swansea) (WRU)

Score "Wallabies" 3 converted goals (15pts). Tries by Dr. Moran and Carroll (2). Three conversions by Carmichael. Aberavon and Neath nil.


The 1908 Wallabies were the first tourists to play at Neath, the tourists won 15-0 against the combined side. An account of the Aussies time at Neath can be read in the biography of Tom Richards, one of the stars of the touring side, penned by Australian author Greg Growden the account recounts the warm welcome and hospitality shown to the Australians...........

"If this was not emotional enough the tour went into overdrive involving endless dramas , when it crossed the border with Wales, and headed for the grim, dim town of Neath. There was a brief stop in Tonypandy to play Penygraig where there was 20 stoppages for supposed injuries to the miners before they were revived with a swig from a mysterious black bottle, and then they continued to Neath.

Situated just north of Swansea, Neath is the ultimate ugly Welsh town, a tough hamlet of miners, steelworkers and wild men, most of appeared in the black jersey of Neath with the white Maltese cross on the front. The home ground, the Gnoll, is the most inhospitable of places, with the changing rooms more akin to pithead baths than a first-class arena.

For decades, Neath had been renowned for their underhand mischievous play, being known throughout Wales as the hillbillies of the local club scene. Even countless decades after the first Wallaby tour, Neath were upsetting Australian teams. In 1992 Wallaby coach Bob Dwyer described the town as 'the bag snatching capital of Wales', after his players were grabbed by the testicles, spat on, had their eyes gouged and were stomped on during a midweek game. If Dwyer had perused the match report of the first Australia-Neath game of 1908, he would have expected nothing less.

It was one never ending stink. After the time of the game had been put back one hour to 4pm to allow the local miners to get to the ground on time, they had plenty to jeer and cheer about after one of their players was knocked unconscious in the opening minutes, after which their full back Dick Hughes was winded.

The 8000 strong crowd immediately called on the referee Edgar Johns from Swansea, to send Australia's Normie Row off, as he was the man closest to hand each time a Neath player collapsed. Johns ignored their pleas. By the second half, they were virtually baying for blood when their skipper DH Davies could not resume because of broken ribs, but went silent when Dix complained to the referee that he had been bitten, showing the teeth marks on his hand. Not surprisingly when Johns whistled full-time in darkness he required a police escort to leave the field, while  the Australian team returned to their hotel with "a 'mounted' policeman on the conductor's step."

Rusty described the match as "a most unpleasant one, the crowd were out to see that their football heroes were right and come what may, the Wallabies were wrong. This crowd was an extraordinarily catankerous one, especially after Davies their vigorous leader of a wild forward game, was led injured from the field. Then there was hooting, booing and shouting. There was some reckless kicking, and many stray punches going round which reflected badly on both sides.

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As you can see from the report the Australian's were warmly welcomed to Neath as are most touring teams. The author has neglected to mention that it was in fact a combined Aberavon and Neath team and seven of the players were from Aberavon. Reading between the lines it's obvious that the Australians intimidation and cheating succeeded in rousing the wrath of the Neath players who were reluctantly forced to defend themselves. Was it a co-incidence that Normie Row just happened to be standing next to each 'flat out' player or that DH Davies ribs were broken. There are no references to Australian injuries, only Dix who was bitten 'on the hand'. Obviously a self inflicted injury where the player was trying to gain the sympathy of the referee. Who in their right mind would bite somebody's hand, there's no easier way to get a 'smack in the gob' than that. On the other hand if it was Neath teeth (I've been waiting years to put that in a sentence) then what was Dix's hand doing near the home team player's mouth, was he gouging maybe ! In conclusion, the Wallabies no doubt having heard reports that the 1905 All Blacks and the 1906 Springboks had met tough and determined sides in Wales who continuously out thought and out played them, had decided that they should intimidate Welsh teams. Proof of this is the fact that a Neath player was laid out flat in the opening minutes, the desired result was that the opposition would become unsettled and un-nerved, I'm afraid on this occasion it worked as the tourists triumphed 15-0.

Another Australian Peter Sharpham recounts the match in his book on the tour "The First Wallabies":

"        The start of the sixth tour match against Neath and Aberavon at the Gnoll on Thursday 15 October was put back to 4pm so that the local miners and school children could attend. A record crowd of 8000 turned out to watch the game, with special trains bringing spectators from Swansea and the Vale of Neath. By the time the Australians arrived by train at 2.30pm a sizeable crowd was on hand to welcome them. They then travelled by hansom cabs to the Castle Hotel, their temporary headquarters, where they were formally welcomed by the Mayor of Neath, Dr. J. W. Thomas.
         The Gnoll was packed to overflowing as the Wallabies performed their was cry and both teams were photographed prior to the kick-off. The home side wore the 'all-black' colours of the Neath club, relieved by a white Maltese cross on the front of the jersey. Although the combined forces of Neath and Aberavon produced a robust, well-balanced team, they were given little chance in the press of vanquishing the undefeated Australians, even though they had lost only one match that season, against Cardiff. Aware of their opponents' strength, the visitors brought back the side which had comprehensively defeated Glamorgan County two matches previously, with only two changes. Pro-forward Hammand and Bede Smith in the centres, both of whom had received minor injuries against Penycraig, were replaced by McIntyre and Dix.
          Persistent rain which had fallen overnight  continued throughout the day, but just before referee Edgar Johns of Swansea blew his whistle for the kick-off the sun shone through the clouds and a giant rainbow daubed the valley with vivid hues. For the first fifteen minutes the home forwards thoroughly tested the Wallabies. They heeled cleanly in the scrums and mauls and worked splendidly in the loose. The in the twentieth minute veteran forward and captain D.H Davies retired hurt. Five minutes later Hickey, fielding a pass from McKivat, dashed fifty yards in an electrifying burst of speed. Fifteen yards from the try line he passed infield to second rower Middleton, who had backed up superbly. Middleton passed to Barnett who offloaded to Griffin before Moran dived over the line wide out to complete what was possibly the best try of the tour up to that date. Carmichael converted and the Australians led 5-0.
         A sharp run by local left-winger Willie Thomas had the crowd yelling encouragement, but Danny Carroll on the Australian left-wing intercepted a pass and sprinted forty yards to place the football under the cross-bar. Carmichael again converted to make it 10-0. Soon after half-time a Welsh forward was knocked senseless in a perfectly legitimate tackle. The crowd roared for a send-off, but referee Johns would have none of it. Soon Hughes, the fullback was upended in another fair tackle and again the crowd bayed for Australian blood, but to no avail.
         The Wallabies' final try came ten minutes before full-time when Richards, having broken through a line-out, cross-kicked to Dix in the centres, who caught the ball high above his head and headed for the try-line only to find his way barred by determined cover-defence and short passed to Carroll who surged over the line untouched. Carmichael converted yet again and the Wallabies had an unassailable lead of 15-10. The Australians launched raid after raid on the home teams' line, but were repelled by a pack which played well above their weight in courage and determination, and the score remained 15-0.
          Tom Richards recalled this encounter in the Sydney Mail on the 24 June 1931: 'The Match against Neath was a most unpleasant one. The crowd were out to see that their football heroes were right and, come what may, the Wallabies were wrong. This crowd was an extraordinarily cantankerous one, especially after Davies, their vigorous leader of a wild forward gang, was led injured from the field. Even if they had been winning I believe they would have continued complaining and hooting.'
          This match has demonstrated that against forwards of average strength and skill, with every man utilising his weight and pushing power, the mechanical tricks of the Australians to gain control of the ball in tight scrummages cannot prevail; and further that a resolute octette using their force on intelligent lines can assert a mastery so far as clean heeling is concerned. Consider this Wallaby patent device. They pack with three men in front, the two outside men, of the first rank practically keeping Griffin, their champion hooker, off the ground, so that he may swing his legs when grappling for the ball. This means that the whole strength of the two outside men cannot be brought into play. And beyond that loss there are two wing forwards, one on each side, who both are seldom in position to force in a straight line. This formation must necessarily reduce the aggregate strength of the pack in a considerable degree, and to make it an effective formation its component parts must be men of phenomenal strength if they hope to secure the ball against forwards one the opposition men have realised the way to circumvent the ingenious manoeuvring. It is only successful when it is adopted against blind go-ahead players, and cannot be of advantage when opponents grasp the situation that eight forwards even of mediocre merit can push off the ball six men, unless the half dozen are of extra-ordinary quality in strength and skill. The novelty of the formation should not be permitted to affect the play of opponents, as attempts to follow the same style would court disaster.
           In the Glamorgan match there was divided opinion among the Welshmen's front row and in the feeble efforts to get a 'loose head', without skilled leadership, an elementary principle in forward play was not generally adopted, the sorry spectacle being seen of a rattling scrummager, who wanted to push hard and straight, being directed to skirmish on the wings, and adopting a role for which he was ill-adapted. But in the game at Penycraig the Wallabies did not secure the ball when they chose, for the sturdy yet nimble collier boys worked with a unanimous will in the hard scrums and found it not nearly so difficult to heel out the ball as they have done when playing against some of their own League clubs. Griffin, who is said to have no equal as a hooker, was not among the Wallabies at Mid-Rhondda, but Hammand, the man who plays mid front-ranker for Sydney University was. The changes in the forwards did not account for their comparative failure, as there was a great preponderance of weight and physical strength in favour of the Australians, neither do I believe that the reason why Penycraig got the ball so often was because of a looseness in refereeing, which allowed the inside half to throw the ball before the feet of the second rank of his own forwards. The match at Neath confirms my impression that even a moderate set of forwards determined to push as well as hook will defeat the clever tactics of the tourists,
          Individually there are several splendid forwards among the Wallabies, but there is not one of exceptional merit played on Wales excepting Richards who is a resourceful player and worthy of inclusion in the best side that ever was. Before the amalgamated Neath and Aberavon men went on the field they seemed to have reasoned out a plan of campaign, and carrying it out the forwards were of one man. Until their leader, D.H. Davies was hurt and forced to retire with only a third of the game gone by they fairly and squarely out-scrummaged their much heavier opponents, and even when reduced to seven they frequently secured the ball; in fact, they did more heeling in any quarter hour of the game than Glamorgan County were able to do all through. The method which served Neath and Aberavon so well should be followed from the very start of the game by Llanelly Club men are light as a lot, and not over clever, but they are courageous, and even if the backs do not score, the heeling to them puts them on the attack, and it limits the chances of scoring for the Wallabies. At Neath there was little combination among the backs as the team was drawn from two clubs but with the opportunities won by the forwards an ordinary club side with knowledge of each other's play should have broken down the defence.
          There were frequent protestations from the crowd about rough play, and one heard cries of brutality, and many were the shouts to the referee to turn off no.14, who was Row, one of the wing forwards. These cries against Row were not justified. His play at Neath was absolutely fair as far as wilful obstruction goes. His position as break-away forward was legitimate, but now and again he over-ran the ball, and his tackling, as one would expect from a big, strong man, was heavy, while his habit of diving for his man appears recklessly wild. Weight and strength combined are put on the field for the purpose of using them for the benefit of the luck fortunate enough to command them, and when they are used with due regard to the rules, the lighter side has nothing to complain about. The fact is that Row has gained a bad name from an incident at Cardiff (against Glamorgan County where Row legitimately harassed Owen at the base of the scrum), and his position on the field though it obviously fair, is obnoxious to people who like to see skill triumph in odds against physique. Being a 'marked' man Row was keenly watched with pre-conceived notions operating with many of the spectators that he was a deliberate fouler.
          Soon every case of a home man being knocked out was construed by a big section of the crowd into unduly rough if not brutal play by the Australians. Hence the demonstrations against the referee. It is true that after the game had been in progress for 20 minutes or so and W.H. Davies went off the field with broken ribs (after the match they found to be only badly bruised) the crowd concluded that every tackle which left a home man on the ground was illegitimate use of strength. This sort of thing affected the players, and as the game waned there was introduced into the play roughing that otherwise would not have been seen. At one stage it was six of one and half of a dozen of the others. Both sides bear marks of the fray, and if the lighter backs of the home side suffered most from the perfectly fair tackles by comparative giants, one of the Australians has marks on his hand that look suspiciously like a bite, as he alleges it to be. Blows were struck - a discredit to the strikers - but I cannot credit that Dix was bitten and I am inclined to think his hand was trodden on by a sharp pair of boots in a melee. The referee states he saw no incident which gave him warrant to send anyone from the field. "



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A year later Neath are touring themselves to the Midlands with matches against Leicester & Coventry. (WRM-0194)


Neath 3 - South Africa 8, 19 Dec 1912 - The Gnoll


Neath: Glyn Gethin, Handel Richards, George Rees, T. O. Jones, Trevor John, Frank Rees, Shon Evans, Fred David (Capt), T. C Lloyd, Glyn Stephens, P.C W. Hopkins, W. Davies, P.C Joe Pullman, T. T Jenkins and Fred Perrett. 

South Africa: C. Morkel, H. J. Mills, J. Morkel, R. R. Luyt, A. Van der Hoff, F. P. Luyt, J Immelman, W. A. Millar (Capt), D. Morkel, W. H. Morkel, J. A Francis, A. S. Knight, C. H. Shum, E. Delaney and G. Thompson.

Touch Judges: Mr T. H. Louw and Mr C. Powell (Neath)

Referee: Mr Smith (Bristol)

Score: "Springboks" 1 converted goal, 1 try (8pts). Van der Hoff scored two tries, J. Morkel converting one. Neath 1 try (3pts). Handel Richards


Neath & Aberavon 5, New South Wales Waratahs 24, 24 Sep 1927 - Aberavon


Neath & Aberavon: D Williams (Vice-Capt), C. Griffiths (A), Harold. Hayes (A), Emrys Jones (N), Dan Jones (N), Eddie Matthews (N), Jim Owen (N), G. Edwards (Capt), Tom Arthur (N), T. Hollingdale (N), Hector Davies (N), Arthur Lemon (N), E. Jenkins (A), Stan Davies (A) and J. Jeremy (A).

New South Wales: A. W. Ross, E. E. Ford, A. C. Wallace (Capt), C. H. Towers, C Gordon, T. S. Lawton, W. Meagher, E. J. Thorne, J. Ford, J. W. Breckenridge, C. L. Fox, A. N. Finlay, J. Tancred, J. G. Blackwood and B. Judd

Touch Judges: Mr L. Palmer and Mr W. R. Thomas, Chairman, Aberavon R.F.C

Referee: Mr W. J. Llewellyn, Bridgend

Score: "Waratahs" 3 converted goals, 2 penalty goals, 1 try (24pts). Aberavon and Neath 1 converted goal (5pts). Dan Jones scored the try and J. Jeremy converted.


Neath & Aberavon 3 - South Africa 8, 28 Nov 1931 - The Gnoll


Neath & Aberavon: Phil Lloyd (N), Fred Nicholas (A), Gwyn Moore (N), Glyn Daniels (N), Dan Jones (N), W. Selby (A), Tal Harris (A), Cyril Griffiths (A) (Capt), Tom Arthur (N), Ned Jenkins (A), W. Vickery (A), Arthur Lemon (N), Gordon Hopkins (N), M. McGrath (A) and Glyn Prosser (N).

South Africa: J Tindall, M. Zimmerman, J. White, J. C. Van der Westhuizen (Vice-Capt), F. Venter, Benny Osler (Capt), D. Craven, F. Bergh, P. J. Nel, J. Dold, H Kipling, S. du Toit, A. Van de Merwe, P. Mostert, J. Macdonald.

Touch Judge: Mr Phil Howells (Neath)

Referee: Mr J. Megins (Pontyclun)

Score: South Africa: 1 Converted goal, 1 penalty goal (8pts). A Van de Merwe scored the try, B. L. Osler converted and kicked a penalty goal. Neath and Aberavon 1 try (3pts) scored by Gordon Hopkins (N)


Neath & Aberavon 3 - New Zealand 13, 14 Dec 1935 - Talbot Athletic Ground, Aberavon


Jack Manchester's All Blacks faced the the might of the combined side at the Talbot Athletic Ground, John Billot in his book 'All Blacks in Wales' says of the match................ 

          "Neath, the Welsh Champions of the previous season, and runners-up Aberavon, unbeaten on their ground, combined to produce a pack as hard as any that had ever come from New Zealand when the clubs combined to play the All Blacks in this stirring encounter. Four of this combined pack later were to play for Wales, and many critics thought they did better than the Welsh team pack. Glyn Prosser, the only capped forward on the day, was to be in the winning Welsh team against the tourists a week later and this rousing wing forward carried his customary fiery cross of aggression through the New Zealand back division.
           But the Welsh clubs' backs could not snatch their opportunities in the same gifted manner of the All Blacks. Faulty handling saw passes dropped, though the scrum half Morgan Baker sent out a snappy service. Neath skipper and regular fly half Gwyn Moore was unable to play because of injury, so clubmate Gwyn Thomas switched from centre to occupy the key role and captain the side. Unfortunately, he could not develop any fluency and, to be fair, had played only a few times as outside half while with Sale. Tommy Owen James was reported to have kicked a greater length than the All Blacks' full back Mike Gilbert and the Aberavon man's instinctive positional play made him look the better player.
             Though Jack Thomas put down a couple of vital passes, the centre tackled strongly and made a number of threatening bursts. Once, only a tigerish tackle by Jack Griffiths prevented him scoring. Wing Harold Powell, who had joined Neath this season from Swansea, also worried the tourists with his daring runs. It needed a flying tackle by Gilbert to stop him racing away after Gwyn Thomas had cut through on the dummy.
              But the forwards were the heroes for the two clubs. Harold Thomas and Griff Williams, in the second row, were great workers; Ivor Bennett was a rugged prop and Walter Vickery a lion-hearted breakaway. All were to play for Wales, though Vickery had to wait until 1938 before winning his cap and so follow in his father's footsteps. The only difference was that his father had been a forward for England against Ireland in 1905. The other forwards who never won caps nevertheless deserved to be remembered for their unsparing efforts-hooker Tonna Morgan, prop Dai Evans and flanker Harold Matthews.
             The 20,000 crowd were given full value for their admission money as the All Blacks launched their combined attacks, frequently bursting away from defending positions and swinging the ball about in dazzling style on the ground hardened by frost. Though without Pat Caughey, who had twisted his knee at Aberdare, the tourists probed vigorously in midfield. "Nothing could have been brighter or better than the glorious first half, in which we had both travelling at a pace that flesh and blood could not maintain for a full game", wrote 'Old Stager' in the Western Mail. "Not surprisingly, both sides' players showed signs of exhaustion. The tourists reached the highest standards in their combined moves and had to employ every single atom of their reserve energy." 
              After five minutes, Charlie Oliver scored a try following a ruck as he came round outside 'Brushy' Mitchell as the extra man and so was in the move a second time to cross in the corner. Another baffling scoring move was launched in the 15th minute. Wing Nelson Ball began the attack 10 yards from his own line, changing defence into a shock raid with a 30-yard sidestepping run along the touch line. He sent inside to Joey Sadler, to Hugh McLean (who appeared to knock-on), to Oliver, Griffiths and Mitchell before Mitchell in-passed and Griffiths went over. Gilbert converted.
             The forward exchanges began to warm up to an extent where referee Dai Hiddlestone, a former wing forward, who had played for Wales against the 1924 All Blacks, decided to intervene. He warned the warring factions and then awarded the clubs a penalty, which Tommy Owen James turned into a goal with a fine kick to make it 8-3 at half time. During the interval, a boy ran on the pitch and presented Mr. Hiddlestone with a bunch of drooping chrysanthemums, which he did not seem to amuse the referee over much, for he left them on the ground and strode away.
             The only second half score came when McLean dived over from a wheeled scrum, but there was some doubt about the legality of this score as the ball had been handled in the scrum. Gilbert converted after no-charge to complete a splendid victory by the All Blacks, who nevertheless knew they had been in one of the toughest forward tussles of the tour. Surely it could not be any harder against Wales? It was a disquieting thought for the All Blacks a week before they faced the Red Devils." 

In their next match the All Blacks were defeated 13-12 by Wales with Glyn Prosser the only member of the combined side to avenge this defeat.


Neath & Aberavon: Tommy Owen James (A), Jim Bevan (N), Jack Thomas (A), Randall Lewis (A), Harold Powell (N), Gwyn Thomas (N) (Capt), Morgan Baker (A), Dai Evans (N), Tonna Morgan (N), Ivor Bennett (A), Griff Williams (A), Harold Thomas (N), Glyn Prosser (N), Walter Vickery (A), Harold Matthews (A).

New Zealand: G. Gilbert, N. Ball, C. J. Oliver (Capt), M. Mitchell, J. Griffiths, M. Tindell, S. Sadler, A. Lambourne, W. Hadley, G. Atkins, A. McLean, S. Reed, R. King, R. Mckenzie and A. Mahoney.

Touch Judges: Mr Meredith and Mr W. R. Thomas (Aberavon)

Referee: Mr D. Hiddlestone (Hendy)

Score  New Zealand 2 converted goals, 1 try (13pts) C. J. Oliver, Jack Griffiths and A. McLean scored tries, G. Gilbert converted twice. Aberavon and Neath 1 penalty goal (3pts). Kicked by T.O. James (A)


Neath 15 - New Zealand Services 'Kiwis' 22, 3 Nov 1945


Neath: D. G. Davies, Roy Williams, T. D. James, John Thomas, Ken Hardwicke, W. E. Jones, H. Parker, Les Anthony, Cliff Williams, Tom Bevan, Geo. Hughes, Graham Hughes, M. Thomas, Rees Stephens and Tom James (Capt)

New Zealand: R. W. Scott, J. Sherratt, J. D. Smith, W. Argus, J. Proctor, A. M. King, G. K. Saxton (Capt), C. Bond, T. Rhind, J. Simpson, S. L. Young, F. W. Woolley, M. Thornton, K. B. Arnold and J. Finlay.

Touch Judge: Mr A. E. Freethy (Neath)

Referee: Mr G. Goldsworthy (Cardiff)

Score: New Zealand (22pts). Tries by Simpson, Sherratt, Argus and Proctor. R. W. Scott converted two tries and kicked two penalty goals. Neath (15pts). Tries by T. D. James, Tom James and W. E. Jones. Two penalty goals by W. E Jones.


Neath & Aberavon 9 - Australia 19, 25 Oct 1947


Neath & Aberavon: Granville Jones (N), J. D. Jenkins (N), H. Edwards (N), D. P. Jones (N), J. Evans (A), A. Duenas (N), H. Parker (N), T. George (A), Will Thomas (A), Emlyn Davies (A), Bryn Jones (A), Dick Jones (A), Tom James (N), Rees Stephens (N) (Capt), M. Thomas (N).

Australia: B. J. Piper, A. E. Tonkin, T. Allen (Capt), M. L. Howell, J. W. McBride, N. A. Emery, C. T. Burke, E. Tweedale, Ken Kearney, E. H. Davis, D. Kraefft, G. M Cooke, J. G Fuller, C. J. Windon, A. J. Buchan.

Touch Judges: Mr C. J. Winsor and Mr G. Davies (Aberavon)

Referee: Mr Trevor Jones (Maesteg)

Score: Australia (19pts). Tries by T. Allen, A. E. Tonkin, C. T. Burke. B. J. Piper kicked two penalty goals and converted two tries. Neath and Aberavon (9pts). Emlyn Davies one try. Granville Jones two penalty goals.


Neath & Aberavon 0 - South Africa 22, 17 Nov 1951


Neath & Aberavon: Viv Evans (N), John Evans (A), J. O'Sullivan (A), G. Wells (N), E. Jones (N), Denzil Jones (A) (Capt), Ken Jones (A), Den Jones (A), Del Davies (A), J. Thorley (N), E. Vincent (A), Roy John (N), E. Thomas (N), D. T. Meredith (A) and A. Williams (A).

South Africa: A. C. Keevey, F. Marais, J. Latigan, R. Van Schoor, J. K. Ochse, J. D. Brewis, P. A. du Toit, A. Geffin, W. Delport, C. Koch, C. J. van Wyk, E. Dinkelmann, J. du Rand, S. P. Fry and H. Muller (Capt)

Touch Judge: Mr C. Michael (Neath) (Chairman Neath R.F.C)

Referee: Mr V. Parfitt (Newport)

Score: South Africa (22pts). Tries by F. Marais (3), S. P. Fry and J. Ochse. A. Geffin kicked a penalty and converted two tries. Aberavon and Neath nil.


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Aberavon/Neath 0 - South Africa 22

A comedy of errors unfurled at the Talbot Athletic ground as the combined team were thrashed soundly by an awesome Springbok midweek side. The opening act saw the Springboks jog around while the national anthem was played. Unfortunately for the organising committee the wrong song had been played, instead of the anthem "Sarie Marie" a delightful South African ditty came over the loudspeakers. The South Wales Echo reported "It was rather as if the serried ranks at Twickenham were upstanding whilst Pretty Polly Perkins of Paddington Green was being played. Not to be outdone one member of the team much to his amusement found that on tackling Ryk van Schoor he was left with a pair of shorts in his grasp while the cheeky Rhodesian tobacco farmer sprinted almost the length of the field to the howling laughter of the crowd. There was not much fun for the home team during the rest of the afternoon as Springbok wing Marais ran in three tries for the tourists. Almost the same team were to go on one week later to run up a record score against Scotland 44 - 0.  (WRM-221/187)


Neath & Aberavon 5 - New Zealand 11, 23 Jan 1954

Dave Fox in his 'A Century of All Blacks in Britain and Ireland reports on this match: 

The clubs of Neath and Aberavon had previously combined to play the 1935 All Blacks. They had individually played the New Zealand Army side, 'The Kiwis', in 1945/46 when both sides were defeated. They had both faced Bob Scott in those early post-war games, while home captain Rees Stephens had played in the Neath pack. They were forced to make a change to the side originally selected. Neath full-back Viv Evans withdrew and Ross Richards played in his place. Given the problems of fielding combined club XVs, it was felt these players would function well together and this might be the hardest of the combined sides the All Blacks were to face in Wales. The All Blacks completely changed their backline for the game and only retained three forwards. However, they welcomed back Bob Stuart and most of the Test pack for the game. 
        The match started with some fierce forward exchanged, but the first score came after fifteen minutes when a scruffy clearance by Richards went to Scott, who dropped a goal. The rest of the half was a tight affair in which each side cancelled the other out. New Zealand led 3-0 at half-time.
        Early in the second half New Zealand attacked at pace and, from second-phase possession, moved the ball quickly along the three-quarters. Colin Loader's pass to Ron Jarden was timed to perfection and the wing ran flat-out around the defence and scored in the corner. Scott converted with ease from the touchline. Later, the tourists scored again after a kick ahead confused the home defence and an improvised pass from Loader sent Stu Freebairn in for an unconverted try. The home team had threatened occasionally during the game and outside half Glyn John had shown good running and passing skills. The side didn't give up and late in the game Roy John broke away and slipped the ball to Brian Sparkes. The future Welsh international foreward raced forty yards before being caught. The ball went inside to Glyn John who passed to Courtenay Meredith for the 1955 Lions prop to score. Richards converted for the last score of the match and New Zealand held out to win.
        Aberavon prop Len Cunningham later played for Wales, as did Keith Maddocks and Glyn John. Their centre colleague, Roy Bish, later became a leading coach and had a major influence on the development of rugby in Italy.


Neath & Aberavon: R. Richards (A), K. Thomas (A), B. Phillips (N), Roy Bish (A), K. Maddocks (N), Glyn John (A), G. Thomas (N), L. Cunningham (A), Del Davies (A), C. C. Meredith (N), Roy John (N), Dan Thomas (A), J. Evans (A), Rees. Stephens (N) (Capt), B. Sparks (N).

New Zealand: R. W. Scott, W. S. Freebairn, C. J. Loader, B. J. Fitzpatrick, R. A. Jarden, L. S. Haig, K. Davies, K. L. Skinner, R. C. Hemi, B. P. Eastgate, D. O. Oliver, R. A. White, G. N Dalzell, W. H. Clarke and R. C Stuart (Capt)

Touch Judges: J. T. Fitzgerald and B. Thomas (A)

Referee: Mr L. Griffin (Blaina)

Score: New Zealand (11pts). Tries by Jarden and Freebairn. Scott kicked a penalty and converted one try. Neath and Aberavon (5pts). Try by Courtney Meredith converted by Ross Richards.


Neath & Aberavon 3 - Australia 5, 28 Dec 1957


Neath & Aberavon: W Young (N), D. Crowley (N), W. Pascoe (A), T. Thomas (N), C. Roberts (N), C. Ashton (A), T. O'Connor (A) (Capt), C. C. Meredith (N), R. Jenkins (N), L. Cunningham (A), J. Bamsey (A), J. Samuel (N), R. O'Connor (A), I. Prosser (A), P. Jones (A). 

Australia: T. G. Curley, G. Bailey, O. Fox, S. White, R. Phelps, R. M. Harvey, D. M. Connor, R. A. Davidson (Capt), J. Brown, N. Shehadie, A. Cameron, D. Emanuel, P. Fenwicke, N. M. Hughes, J. Thornett.

Touch Judges: G. N. Vaughan and P. Steer (N)

Referee: Mr A. Williams (Newport)

Score: Australia (5pts). Try by Thornett converted by Harvey. Aberavon and Neath (3pts). Try by Don Crowley.


Neath & Aberavon 5 - South Africa 25, 14 Jan 1961


Neath & Aberavon: G. Hodgson (N), J. Collins (A), D. Thomas (A), B. Jones (A), K. Thomas (A), C Ashton (A), T. O'Connor (A), J. Dodd (N) (Capt), M. Williams (N), R. Waldron (N), B. Thomas (N), J. Bamsey (A), R. O'Connor (A), J. Davies (N), A. Dix (N).

South Africa: L. G. Wilson, J. Engelbrecht, A. Kirkpatrick, J. L. Gainsford, M. Antelme, D. Stewart, R. Lockyear, J. L. Myburgh, R. Hill, P. S du Toit, F. C. du Preez, J. Claassen, A. S. Malan (Capt), G. H. van Zyl, D. J. Hopwood

Touch Judges: P. J. van Zyl and A. McCarley (A)

Referee: Mr F. G. Price (Blaenavon)

Score: South Africa (25pts). Tries by Engelbrecht (2), Stewart, Hill, Kirkpatrick, Hopwood. Two conversions and penalty by du Preez. Neath and Aberavon (5pts). Try by Tony O'Connor and conversion by G. Hodgson.


Neath & Aberavon 6 - New Zealand 11, 2 Nov 1963

Neath & Aberavon: G. Hodgson (N), R. Staddon (A), B. Jones (A), D. Thomas (A), H. Rees (N), C. Jones (A), T. O'Connor (A), P. Morgan (A) (Capt), J. M. Williams (N), L. Cunningham (A), B. Thomas (N), D. Davies (N), A. Butler (N), D. Morris (N), P. Jones (A)

New Zealand: Don Clarke, M. J. Dick, P. Little, P. Walsh, I. S. Smith, M. Herewini, C. Laidlaw, K. Gray, D. Young, W. J. Whineray (Capt), D. J. Graham, C. E. Meads, S. T. Meads, A. J. Stewart and W. J. Nathan.

Touch Judges: Mr K. Barry and Mr S. Davies (Neath)

Referee: Mr F. G. Price (Blaenavon)

Score: New Zealand (11pts). Tries by Smith, Little and Gray. Conversions by D. Clarke. Aberavon and Neath (6pts). Try by Peter Jones, Penalty by Grahame Hodgson.


Neath & Aberavon 3 - Australia 9, 29 Oct 1966


Neath & Aberavon: G. T. Hodgson (N), H. Rees (N), G. Ball (N), B. Jones (A), H. Williams (N), C. Jones (A), G. Thomas (A), R. Waldron (N), M. Howells (A), J. Dodd (N), B. Thomas (N) (Capt), M. Wiltshire (A), D. Morris (N), W. Mainwaring (A), O. Jones (A).

Australia: J. K. Lenehan, E. S. Boyce, J. E. Brass, P. R. Gibbs, A. M. Cardy, P. S. Hawthorne, K. Catchpole (Capt), R. Prosser, P. G. Johnson, A. R. Miller, R. Tietzel, J. M. Miller, D. O'Callaghan, J. O'Gorman, G. Davis.

Touch Judges: Mr W. D. H. Davies (Clydach) and Mr Ron Lewis (LLangynwyd)

Referee: Mr D. Gwyn Walters (Gowerton).

Score: Australia (9pts) 2 penalties and 1 drop goal by J. K. Lenehan. Aberavon and Neath (3pts). Try by D. Morris (N)


Neath & Aberavon 0 - South Africa 27, 10 Dec 1969


Neath & Aberavon: G. T. Hodgson (N), R. Fleay (A), F. Reynolds (A), J. Simonson (A), L. Hall (A), D. Parker (N), M. Davies (N), D. Whitlock (A), A. Mages (N), B. Thomas (N), W. Mainwaring (Capt), J. Luff (A), D. Thomas (N), Wilson Lauder (N), O. Jones (A).

South Africa: A. Roux, R. Grobler, E. Olivier, J. van der Merwe, A. van der Watt, P. Visagie, D. de Vos, Mof. Myburgh, D. Walton, R. Potgieter, S. de Klerk, A. de Wet, A. Bates, T. Bedford (Capt), P. van Deventer.

Touch Judges: Mr D. R. Daly (Burry Port) and Mr Ron Lewis (Llangynwyd)

Referee: Mr R. F. Johnson (R.F.U)

Score: South Africa (27pts). Tries by Visagie, van der Merwe, Grobler, van der Watt and Olivier (2), 3 conversions and 1 penalty by Visagie. Neath and Aberavon: NIL


Neath & Aberavon 3 - New Zealand 43, 24 Jan 1973

Neath 21 - Japan 21, 15 Oct 1983

Neath 6 - USA 15, 31 Oct 1987

 The Welsh Brewers Rugby Annual for Wales, edited by Arwyn Owen carries a match report on the visit of the US Eagles to the Gnoll: 

"Gnoll fans were stunned on this damp Saturday of October 31, 1987. The Eagles, beaten in their three previous games, and given no hope of holding the Welsh Champions, snatched Neath's ground record with a tremendous effort by their pack. It was the sensation of the season and a great fillip for the tourists before they faced Wales a week later.
        Though Neath were without skipper Paul Thorburn (slight muscle strain) new caps Jeremy Pugh and Rowland Phillips (resting before the Test match) lineout star Barry Clegg (under suspension for being sent off) and injured Phil Pugh, no-one imagined they would falter.
        Falter they did, failing to score a try and being thoroughly discomfited by the revitalised American forwards. There was a further shock episode during the match when Neath team manager Brian Thomas announced that Dai Joseph would be suspended for one match as a disciplinary measure. This followed Joseph's head-butt eight minutes after the kick-off that mean Eagle's no.8 Brian Vizard needed stitches in a gash. The Americans felt Joseph should have been sent off and not just warned by French referee Patrick Robin.
        "We have been expecting something like this all tour because we know that Welsh rugby has got a bad name for violent play", said tour manager Bob Watkins. "Our fears were increased when Wales had a player sent off in the World Cup and we came to Wales half expecting to be provoked and intimidated." Acting Neath captain Lyn Jones said that his prop over-reacted to provocation.
        It might well have been that that moment of Neath violence stimulated the tourists to an all-out effort. They galvanised their energy into a tremendous sustained burst of driving forward play; rucking fiercely and taking out Neath players swiftly off the ball in the whirlwind drive. They also cleaned out the lineout through the work of Ron Zenker and the giant Kevin Swords.
        Neath also had problems in the scrums and just could not generate the response that was anticipated by their supporters. When the home side did swarm to the attack, the Americans' tackling was equal to all demands. "We studied a video-tape of Neath and came up with a plan to stop them attacking from rucks and mauls by making a man hang off each side," said skipper Paoli."

The Teams:
    Neath: Jonathan Griffiths, Alan Edmunds, Steve Powell, Richie Griffiths, Graham Davies, Paul Williams, Andrew Booth, Paul Jackson, Kevin Phillips, David Joseph, Steve Dando, Huw Richards, Keiron Gregory, Mark Jones, Lyn Jones (Capt)
    USA: Alec Montgomery, Kevin Higgins, Mark Williams, Chris Doherty, Garry Hein, Mike Caulder, Mike Saunders, Butch Horwarth, Pat Johnson, Fred Paoli (Capt), Kevin Swords, Ron Zenker, Dave Sydurka, Brian Vizard, Mark Carlson
    Referee: Patrick Robin (France)
    Scores: For Neath, Paul Williams (2PG), For Eagles, Mark Williams, Gary Hein (tries), Mark Williams (1PG, 2 con,)


Neath 15 - New Zealand 26, 25 Oct 1989

Neath 8 - Australia 16, 11 Nov 1992

Neath 13 - South Africa 16, 2 Nov 1994

Neath 30 - Fiji 22, 2 Nov 1994

Neath 39 - USA 15, 4 Jan 1997



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