Our History

Club history

Bryncethin RFC was founded in 1890 and soon became a major force in Welsh Rugby reaching the final of the South Wales Cup in 1903 where we lost to Llwynipia who fielded nine internationals. The team was built around the brothers Tatchell, Pugsley and Bayliss and, in 1906, a combined team from these three families beat a team made up from the rest of Bryncethin. After the Great War, a syndicate of businessmen promoted sport in the area and Bryncethin played at Pandy Park in the middle of a planned racecourse.

This led to our most successful senior side which included Percy Pugsley, Alf Tatchell and, of course, Ivor Thomas who won a cap for Wales. The club was forced to drop out of the WRU in the late 20’s, which lead to a short period of disbandment, but rugby continued to be played in the area with  Bryncoch United playing on the common.

The club reformed and, after the Second World War, became affiliated to the Welsh Districts. Bryncethin were one of the founder members of the Welsh Youth and their team included Ken Richards, Ray Howells and Bob Pugsley. During the late 1950’s Bryncethin fielded a strong youth team and, in 1959, lost only one game all season with a team that included Dai Bayliss, Brian Nicholas and Ron Evans.
During this period the club members provided the labour to build the current pavilion but sadly, in 1965, the senior team again disbanded for a short period. However the Youth team continued until 1970 and it was during this time that Wilson Lauder, who later went on to represent Scotland at senior level, played for the club.

In 1970 the senior team was reformed in the village under the captaincy of Glyn Greenslade with a team that included Dai (The Milk) Watkin who, in 1977, was chosen to captain the Welsh Districts team in a team that also included Glyn Evans.

Representation in the Welsh Districts national team continued in 1989 when Peter Puaca played and in 1995 when current coach Paul Watkin was selected, as vice captain, for the Welsh Districts on their tour of Sri Lanka and against Denmark. In 2006 brothers Dai and Andrew Bayliss were selected to face Germany with Andrew leading the side and he also captained the side against the same opposition in 2007 when brothers Gareth and Rhoddy Davies gained their caps.

The youth team have also produced a number of players who represented their country at that level, including current youth coach Nigel Evans and Paul Watkin, whilst two, Huw Williams Jones and Peter Rogers, went on to represent their country at senior level.

In 2006 Bryncethin won the Worthington Welsh Districts Cup at Sardis Road in Pontypridd in a game normally  played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff but that  had to be moved for just that season. However their disappointment at not appearing at the home of Welsh Rugby was short lived as, in the following two seasons, they again reached the final, on both occasions playing at the stadium.

Disappointingly, on both occasions, they were unable to repeat their victory of 2006 and narrowly lost both matches but all three finals proved to be great days for the club with what appeared to be all of the village turning out in support.

The latest trophy in the cabinet was the District Bowl, won by the senior team of the 2018-19 season, securing a win on try count, over Bridgend Sports in the final at Aberavon. 

In 2012 the club, after many years of trying, finally and deservedly, regained full Welsh Rugby status and have more than held their own in the league structures since. Our case for reinstatement into the WRU was reinforced by the team's performances in 2007/2008 when we finished top of Division 6, in 2008/2009 when we finished runners up and in 2011/2012 which saw us win every single game to finish champions of Division 5.

In recent times the club has continued to produce talent that has gone to represent their districts, regions and indeed their country at various levels. The club has had a number of Youth team and U16 players representing the Boys Clubs of Wales over the last few seasons, both in this country and abroad.

Young scrum half Harri Morgan was selected by Wales at under 16’s level last season, touring South Africa and was rewarded with an Ospreys ‘B’ Contract on his return. Harri is now a member of the full Ospreys squad and the club are eagerly awaiting his return to play after a period out with injury.

Owen Watkin, son of Paul and grandson of Dai mentioned earlier, has represented his country at under 16 and 18 level and, during the 2015/16 season, gained 10 U20 Welsh caps in the Six Nations Grand Slam and then in the World Championships in Italy. He gained his Senior Wales cap in the 2017 Autumn Series against Australia and went on to feature in the 2018 Six Nations and summer tour of Argentina. The club are hoping that Harri follows in Owen’s footsteps, and are extremely proud of all our National representation.

The last 10 years has seen an unprecedented change in the structure and the number of playing members at the club, which has gone from having one senior side to now fielding teams at ages from under 7’s through to seniors and including a mixed ability touch rugby team.

This has resulted in some 250 players representing the club on any weekend and, off the field, this has brought together hundreds of parents, grandparents and other relatives and friends of the players resulting in the Rugby Club once again becoming the social hub of the community just as it was in 1890 when the club was formed. May it continue for another 125 years!