Aberdare RFC

Aberdare Rugby Football Club is a Rugby Union club based in the town of Aberdare, Wales. Aberdare RFC play in the Welsh Rugby Union Division One East Central and is a feeder club to Cardiff Rugby.[1]

Aberdare RFC
Aberdare RFC crest.jpg
Full nameAberdare Rugby Football Club
Nickname(s)The Snakes
LocationAberdare, Wales
Ground(s)Ynys Stadium (Capacity: 500)
Coach(es)Lee Evans, Rhys Shellard & Mark Rees
Captain(s)Tom Roberts
League(s)WRU Division One East Central
Team kit
Official website

Club historyEdit

The first mention of an Aberdare club came in 1876, when on 30/11/1876 Aberdare played away to Merthyr, losing by two tries.[2] In September 1883 it was decided to "re-start" the Aberdare club.[3]

Aberdare RUFC began as Aberaman Rugby Football Club, a team formed in 1890, though the earliest written conformation of their existence is from a match in 1895 against a team from Ferndale. In the early 1900s the team joined the Glamorgan league, playing other coal mining towns such as Maesteg, Treorchy and Treherbert.

In 1907 Aberdare were involved in an early rugby scandal linked to professionalism. Local collier Dai 'Tarw' Jones was one of Aberdare's star players and captained the club from 1905 to 1907. For his services to the club he was paid 10 shillings a week along with meal costs and train fares. When the club cut the wage to 5 shillings, Jones switched allegiance to Treherbert, commuting from his home town of Aberdare on match days. Aberdare's ex-secretary E. Rees in 1907 made several allegations in the press that broke multiple union rules. Not only did he mention the wages but also stated that leading teams had been paid to visit the town and stated Aberdare was involved in match fixing. During the 1904/05 season, Aberdare won the Glamorgan League by beating Treorchy in the last match. Rees claimed that Treorchy had agreed to lose the game for £15.[4]

The resulting investigation from the WRU, at the time still called the Welsh Football Union, spread far further than the two clubs mentioned by Rees. The union saw 6 players temporarily suspended, including Welsh international Fred Scrine, Merthyr escaped with a warning but Treorchy and Aberdare saw the permanent suspension of their entire committees. The union also permanently suspended eight players, including Jones who switched to rugby league.[4] The events of the investigation led to bad feeling in the rugby community of Aberdare, and was a major factor in Aberdare founding Aberdare RLFC, one of the first professional rugby league clubs and member of the Welsh League.[5] This combination of the change to Northern League and the resultant 1908 team photo, which featured several players wearing 'snake belts' to hold up their shorts, gave rise to the nickname of "The Snakes".

On Wednesday 27th April 2016, Aberdare RFC were confirmed League Champions of Welsh Rugby Union Division 3 East Central 'A' following a 30-47 Away win over Cardiff based Fairwater RFC.

This was notably one of the clubs most successful seasons having won the league with 2 games to spare and fittingly during the clubs 125th Anniversary.

Led by Captain Daniel William Lewis, the side was well known for their exciting brand of running rugby, scoring over 100 tries during the season and notching up over 700 points which was 200 more than their closest competitors.

There was only one recorded loss during the league campaign which reflected the team's excellent defensive displays.

On Wednesday 10th May 2017, Aberdare RFC played Llantrisant RFC in Mid District Bowl Final at Sardis Road, Pontypridd. Aberdare won 42-17.

On Saturday 8th April 2023, Aberdare RFC played Morriston RFC in Welsh Rugby Union Division 2 Cup Final at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff. Over 700 Aberdare supporters attended the Final in which Morriston won 17-12.

On Wednesday 17th May 2023, Aberdare RFC played Abercwmboi RFC in Mid District Bowl Final at Sardis Road, Pontypridd. The match ended 19-19 with Aberdare winning 3-1 on Try count.

Club HonoursEdit

19th Century:

  • 1899/1900 Glamorgan Press Cup Winners

20th Century:

  • 1901/02 Glamorgan Times Cup Winners
  • 1904/05 Glamorgan League Champions
  • 1982/83 Mid District Section D Champions

21st Century:

  • 2015/16 WRU 3 East Central A Champions
  • 2016/17 Mid District Bowl Winners
  • 2022/23 Mid District Bowl Winners

Notable playersEdit

British & Irish Lions:


Wales 7s:

Other Internationals:


  1. ^ BBC News (8 July 2004). "Wales' regional rugby map". BBC. Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  2. ^ "MERTHYR. I|1876-12-02|The Western Mail - Welsh Newspapers". newspapers.library.wales.
  3. ^ "Xiifal Mlt t e 11 i 01 \x 11.|1883-09-29|The Aberdare Times - Welsh Newspapers". newspapers.library.wales.
  4. ^ a b Fields of Praise, The Official History of the Welsh Rugby Union 1881-1981, David Smith, Gareth Williams (1980) pg 180 ISBN 0-7083-0766-3
  5. ^ Lush, Peter; Farrar, Dave (1998). Tries in the Valley: A History of Rugby League in Wales. London: London League Publications. p. 9. ISBN 0-9526064-3-7.

External linksEdit