On Saturday we will extend a warm hand of friendship to the players, Committee and supporters of Llanelli RFC as we renew our old rivalry once again at St Helens. I’d like to add the welcome of the All Whites Former Players’ Association to those of the supporters. We travelled to Parc Y Scarlets on a very cold day at the end of December for the away fixture and a “spirited engagement” was finally won by Llanelli with Swansea coming off the pitch disappointed to have lost by 4 points. I fully expect Saturday’s encounter to have the same fire in the mix with Swansea smarting from their exit from the SWALEC Cup last weekend at the Quarter-Final stage to Aberavon. Llanelli are currently sitting at fourth in the league while we have been propping up the table for some time. Despite our table position, the boys have worked hard for the jersey, which is a gratifying fact we should not ignore. Mefin Davies and Kevin Hopkins will not need to work the boys up much as I’m sure they all remember the away fixture and will use the experience to advantage at 2:30pm.
I’m pleased to be able to announce the date of the Former Players’ Annual Dinner. This will take place on Friday October 4th in the St Helens Lounge. It’s also a great pleasure to be able to tell you that our guest speaker this year is to be former Pontypool, Lions and Wales No8 Eddie Butler. Well known of course for his rugby punditry nowadays, Eddie won 16 caps for wales between 1980 and 1984. He was selected for the 1983 Lions tour of New Zealand and played in the match against Waikato. Eddie also played 6 times for the barbarians invitation club, including the barbarians match against Swansea in April 1980. Members of the AWFPA who’d like to attend the dinner should contact myself or ‘NAJ’ as soon as possible. The dinner is always a full house and we’d hate you to miss it.
I did not have the opportunity in my last piece to mention the passing of former All White Dudley Thomas. He was a stalwart of the 1st XV from 1951 to 1963 at prop forward, even playing at outside half when required! He played for the All Whites against Australia in 1958 at St Helens and went on to serve on the Committee after his playing days for the 1st XV and Athletic sides came to an end. He sadly passed away this month and will be missed by his friends here and across the rugby community.
Can I again remind all supporters that the Annual Dinner & Awards Night is at St Helens on 10th May and the guest speaker is to be Dai Vaughan of Dunvant RFC. Any of you who’ve heard him on song before will beat a path to book now! Tickets are £25 a head and well worth it.
Being a member of the association, now numbering in excess of 250, entitles one to free entry to home league and friendly games played by Swansea RFC at St Helens, thereby enabling us to meet and pass on to current and past players, memories and experiences. Every year in the autumn, a dinner is held at Swansea Rugby Club by us. This provides the opportunity to renew past friendships. Guest speakers at the Annual Dinner have recently included Tony O'Reilly (Ireland, Lions & Barbarians), Nigel Redman (England, Lions & Barbarians), Phil Bennett (Wales, Lions & Barbarians) and Doddie Weir (Scotland, Lions & Barbarians).
Should you be a former Swansea Rugby Club player or know of a former player who wishes to become a member of the Association, please contact either the Chairman Terry Morgan, Secretary Brian Jones or Swansea Rugby Club. For former Swansea players who are not yet members of this great club's Association: Remember what the club did for you.
Terry Morgan – (Chairman AWFPA)