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

Aberdare RFC
Full nameAberdare Rugby Union Football Club
Nickname(s)The Snakes
LocationAberdare, Wales
Ground(s)Ynys Stadium (Capacity: 500)
ChairmanDarrell Williams
PresidentDavid Lloyd Jones
Coach(es)Rhys Shellard, Daniel Lewis & Mark Rees
Captain(s)Thomas Roberts
League(s)WRU Championship East
Team kit
Official website

Club history


The first mention of an Aberdare club came in 1876, when a team lost by two tries playing at Merthyr on 30 November.[2] In September 1883 it was decided to "re-start" the Aberdare club.[3]

Aberdare RUFC began as Aberaman Rugby Football Club,[citation needed] 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]

Recent history


Aberdare RFC, a prominent club in Welsh Rugby Union, has seen notable achievements and milestones in recent years, marking significant moments in its long-standing history.

2016: League Champions of Welsh Rugby Union Division 3 East Central 'A'

On Wednesday, April 27th, 2016, Aberdare RFC clinched the League Champions title of the Welsh Rugby Union Division 3 East Central 'A'. This victory came after a remarkable away win against Fairwater RFC, based in Cardiff, with a final scoreline of 30-47. Led by Captain Daniel William Lewis, Aberdare showcased an exhilarating brand of running rugby throughout the season, tallying over 100 tries and amassing more than 700 points, a testament to their dominance. With just one loss during the league campaign, Aberdare's triumph was particularly noteworthy as it coincided with the club's 125th Anniversary, adding a special significance to their achievement.

2017: Mid District Bowl Final Victory In May 2017, Aberdare RFC emerged victorious in the Mid District Bowl Final against Llantrisant RFC, held at Sardis Road, Pontypridd. The final scoreline of 40-18 demonstrated Aberdare's prowess on the field, securing another prestigious title for the club.

2023: Division 2 Cup Final, Mid District Bowl Winners & Promotion to Division 1 East Central Fast forward to April 8th, 2023, Aberdare RFC faced Morriston RFC in the Welsh Rugby Union Division 2 Cup Final at the renowned Principality Stadium in Cardiff. Despite a valiant effort, Aberdare fell short as Morriston claimed victory with a score of 17-12. Nevertheless, the final drew an impressive crowd of over 700 Aberdare supporters, reflecting the club's strong fan base and community support.

However, Aberdare's fortunes turned on May 6th, 2023, as they secured promotion to the Welsh Rugby Union Division 1 East Central for the first time in their history, marking a significant milestone in their journey.

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.

2024: Promotion to Welsh Rugby Union National League Championship The momentum continued in April 2024 when Aberdare RFC achieved yet another historic milestone by securing promotion to the Welsh Rugby Union National League Championship for the first time in their history. This triumph, achieved after defeating Mountain Ash.

Current Players


2023/24 Senior Squad

  •   Brad Allen
  •   Jack Allen
  •   Ieuan Archer
  •   Gavin Barrett
  •   Paul Bevan
  •   Morgan Biggins
  •   Shaun Blakemore
  •   Josh Bowditch
  •   Ben Bowen
  •   Jacob Breese
  •   Owen Candemir
  •   Kian Carter
  •   Blaydon Cartwright
  •   Brad Davies
  •   Joshua Davies
  •   Matthew Davies
  •   Ryan Davies
  •   Connor Downie
  •   Garin Enoch
  •   Liam Enoch
  •   Alex Evans
  •   Lee Evans
  •   Nicholas John Evans
  •   Eamon Fenech
  •   Adam Fenlon
  •   Mitchell Griffiths
  •   Travis Hawkins
  •   Jarrad Hippsley
  •   William Hope
  •   David Hopes
  •   Thomas Hopkins
  •   Cameron Jones
  •   Jack Kathrens
  •   Connor Lacey
  •   Daniel Lewis
  •   Jack Lewis
  •   Ross Llewellyn
  •   Dale Lloyd
  •   Josh Lloyd
  •   Matthew Lloyd
  •   David Miles
  •   Ben Miller
  •   Steffan Moseley
  •   Josh Muxworthy
  •   Callum Owen
  •   Jake Parfitt
  •   Adam Parry
  •   Kieron Parry
  •   David Payne
  •   Garyn Payne
  •   Jack Payne
  •   Jamie Price
  •   Rhys Price
  •   Matthew Rafferty
  •   Jarrad Rees
  •   Jamie Richards
  •   Thomas Roberts - Club Captain
  •   Amir Saleh
  •   Cameron Samuel
  •   Daniel Shanahan
  •   Finlay Shellard
  •   Rhys Shellard
  •   Matthew Shellard
  •   David Smith
  •   Ben Staton
  •   Ellis Stephens
  •   Kian Stephens
  •   Nathan Terry
  •   Dafydd Thomas
  •   Nathan Thomas
  •   Rhys Turner
  •   Lewys Walsh
  •   Anthony Watts
  •   Christopher Watts
  •   Jon Watts
  •   Tom Waythe
  •   Dominic Wesley
  •   Ethan Wynne
  •   Finley Yates
  •   Jago Yates
  •   Owen Young - Club Vice Captain

Club Honours


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:

  • 2004/05 WRU 4 South East Runners Up
  • 2007/08 WRU 4 South East Runners Up
  • 2014/15 WRU 3 East Central (B) Runners Up
  • 2015/16 WRU 3 East Central (A) Champions
  • 2016/17 Mid District Bowl Winners
  • 2022/23 WRU 2 East Central Runners Up
  • 2022/23 WRU Division 2 Cup Runners Up
  • 2022/23 Mid District Bowl Winners
  • 2022/23 Silver Ball Quarter-Finalists
  • 2023/24 WRU 1 East Central Runners Up

Notable players


British & Irish Lions:


Wales 7s:

Other Internationals:

  •   Aaron Freeman (2 caps)


  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.