(d) = International debut, (c) = captain of international side.
W H (William Henry) Gwynn succeeded George Morris to the captaincy of Swansea Rugby Football Club in this their 12th season. He was to lead them in 2 successive seasons. Having won his first 3 Welsh caps in the previous season at half back and because of his influence as a player for Swansea on the pitch during 1883-84, he was the obvious choice. Gwynn’s influence on early Swansea play was significant and he helped develop the early Swansea style of moving the ball, being an attacking half back in an era dominated by forward rushes. An early advocate and exponent of the passing game, Gwynn was able to encourage the backs around him to develop as a unit. He was renowned for his quick passes from the base of the scrum to the backs, even between his legs on occasion. W H Gwynn joined Swansea as a player in 1879, having made a cameo appearance in 1877. His younger brother Dai beat his older brother to an International cap, gaining his first of 6 in 1882 to William’s 1884. Team mates at St Helens, they never played for Wales together.
4 Swansea players gained Welsh caps this season. On 3rd January 1885 Wales lost to England at St Helens by 1 goal and 4 tries to 1 goal and 1 try in the second International to be played at the ground. W H Gwynn did not have his best game for Wales but the Welsh forwards went better where Swansea’s Sam Goldsworthy was joined by Evan Richards who gained the first of 2 caps that day. This improvement was maintained a week later in Hamilton Crescent, Partick when a strong Scottish side was held to a scoreless draw. Gwynn was joined in this match again by Sam Goldsworthy gaining the last of his 3 caps and another Swansea forward, Dai Morgan who won the first of 7 Welsh caps this day. Wales did not play Ireland this season.
Wales v England 1885
The Wales team that played England at St Helens, Swansea on 3rd January 1885. England won by 5 tries, 1 con to 2 tries, 1 con.
Swansea’s Evan Richards made his Welsh debut as a forward this day playing alongside his club mate Sam Goldsworthy. Swansea’s W H Gwynn played at half back. It was also a debut on the international stage for the great Arthur Gould of Newport, a leading exponent of Welsh three quarter play.
Back Row (L to R): E M Rowland (Lampeter), Sam Goldsworthy (Swansea), E S Richards (Swansea).
2nd Row (L to R): L C Thomas ( Cardiff), H S Lyne (Newport), T J S Clapp (Newport), J S Smith (Cardiff), R Gould (Newport), T B Jones (Newport).
Front Row (L to R): H M Jordan (Newport), C G Taylor (Ruabon/Blackheath), W H Gwynn (Swansea), C H Newman (Newport) [captain] , A J Gould (Newport), F E Hancock (Cardiff), Alex Duncan (WFU – Umpire).
(Courtesy WRU Archives).
Wales v Scotland 1885
The first Welsh team not to lose to Scotland. This was the third encounter between the two and Wales’ first drawn international match. W H Gwynn, Sam Goldsworthy and Dai Moragn were the Swansea players in the team. Forward Dai Morgan was making his international debut.
The Welsh team that drew 0 – 0 with Scotland at Hamilton Crescent, Partick on 10th January 1885.
Back Row (L to R): A Duncan (Umpire), E P Alexander (Cambridge Univ.), S J Goldsworthy (Swansea), A F Hill (Cardiff), W H Thomas (Llandovery/Cambridge Univ.), T S J Clapp (Newport), C G Taylor (Ruabon/Blackheath), D Morgan (Swansea), R Mullock (WFU Official).
2nd Row (L to R): H M Jordan (Newport), L C Thomas (Cardiff), C H Newman (Newport) [captain], A J Gould (Newport), F E Hancock (Cardiff), R Gould (Newport).
Front Row (L to R): W H Gwynn (Swansea), T Baker Jones (Newport).
(Courtesy WRU Archives)
Dai Morgan played as a forward on 7 occasions for Wales between 1885 and 1889. In the game versus Ireland on 12 March 1887, Morgan scored a try, which was the 1st occasion a Swansea player had scored in an international.
He made his debut for Swansea in 1884