Newport RFC
Full nameNewport Rugby Football Club
UnionWelsh Rugby Union
Nickname(s)Black & Ambers
Founded1874; 149 years ago (1874)[1]
LocationNewport, South Wales
Ground(s)Newport Stadium, Newport (Capacity: 5,058)
ChairmanWill Godfrey
Coach(es)Craig Warlow
Captain(s)Adam Brown
Most capsDavid Waters, 702
Top scorerDaniel Griffiths, 1,551
Most triesArthur Gould, 159
League(s)Welsh Premier Division
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website

Newport Rugby Football Club (Welsh: Clwb Rygbi Casnewydd) is a Welsh rugby union club based in the city of Newport, South Wales. They presently play in the Welsh Premier Division. Until 2021 Newport RFC were based at Rodney Parade situated on the east bank of the River Usk.

Every major rugby union touring team to visit Wales has played at Rodney Parade, and all of them were beaten at least once in the twentieth century by a side who, in 1951, played in the match at Cardiff RFC that attracted what was, a world-record crowd of 48,500 for a rugby union match between two clubs.[2]

In addition to matches against all the major national sides a highlight of the Newport season was the annual match against the Barbarians, ensuring that the Newport fans enjoyed watching world-class players to supplement the Welsh internationals who were a common feature of the 'Black and Ambers'.

Newport supplied over 150 players to the Wales national team and international players to England, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa, Czech Republic, Canada and Fiji as well as over 80 Barbarians.

Following the regionalisation of Welsh rugby in 2003, Newport RFC are now a feeder club to the Dragons regional team.

In March 2017, sale of Rodney Parade to the Welsh Rugby Union was agreed following a vote of Newport RFC shareholders.[3] The takeover was completed on 27 June 2017 and work started to install a hybrid grass pitch for the 2017–18 rugby and football season.[4]

In October 2021 Newport RFC relocated their home matches to Newport Stadium whilst agreeing with the WRU to play two matches per season at Rodney Parade.[5]



The 1904–05 team

Newport RFC were formed in 1874 under the financial backing of the Phillips brewing family, and the playing talents of former pupils of Monmouth School,[6] a public school which had adopted rugby union in 1873.[7] Newport was originally intended as an association football club, but was unable to find any opponents, but they managed to organise a rugby match against Cardiff RFC, and in 1875 played Cardiff in both clubs' first-ever game.[6]

Newport’s early success was remarkable, winning every match in their first four seasons between 1875 and 1879.[8] They were also successful in other tournaments winning the first two South Wales Cup competitions.[9] The club’s strength was reflected at international level, providing more players to the Welsh national team than any other club in the nineteenth century, including four captains. In 1881 Newport was one of the eleven clubs present at the forming of the Welsh Rugby Football Union,[10] and provided six players in the first Welsh international match, more than any other club.[11]

Scrum between Newport and London Welsh, 31 December 1904

Partially due to their geographical location Newport also played against more established clubs from England and in 1878 a game was arranged against Manchester Athletic followed by games against Birmingham, Clifton, Gloucester and Swindon. Their dominance led Newport’s club secretary, Richard Mulloch to arrange a match against the English domestic champions Blackheath Rugby Club. With a record attendance of 5,000 spectators Newport were out-classed by their opponents, losing four goals and eight tries to nil. However, Newport had played two games in the previous five days and Blackheath brought in outside players to bolster their squad.[12]

In October 1879 Newport played Cardiff RFC in a floodlit game at Rodney Parade; the first ground to have floodlights installed in Wales.[12]

In 1887, Newport player Charlie Newman was given the captaincy of the Welsh national team, he was the first Newport player to achieve this honour. In 1887 Newport player Tom Clapp was given the Wales captaincy and in 1888 he led the first Welsh side to beat Scotland, a team that included Newport players Powell and Gould. During the 1891–92 season, under captain Tom Graham Newport went unbeaten, winning 29 games and drawing four. Graham brought a new professional attitude to the team, introducing weekly gym training and an avoidance of alcohol.[13]

In 1912 Newport hosted the touring South Africa national team, and beat them 9 points to 3.[14]



In 1963 Newport, captained by Brian Price, claimed perhaps their greatest victory by defeating New Zealand led by Wilson Whineray 3–0. This turned out to be the All Blacks' only defeat on their 1963 tour.[15] The club was granted Freedom of the City of Newport on the 50th anniversary of this victory.[16]

After rugby turned professional in 1995, Newport initially struggled, being relegated after finishing bottom of the eight-team Welsh Premier Division in 1998, only to be reinstated after Cardiff and Swansea 1998–99 Welsh rugby union rebel season over a dispute with the WRU.[17] After staying up, Newport then moved to full-time professionalism for the 1999-2000 season with the help of benefactor Tony Brown, who financed marquee signings including former South Africa captain Gary Teichmann. The first game of the season against Cardiff drew a crowd of almost 7,000, the biggest since the visit of the All Blacks in 1989.[18] This was accompanied by a rise in season ticket sales from 700 the previous season to 3,300, with a further increase to 4,000 expected the following year.[19]

In 2003, Newport merged with Ebbw Vale to form the Gwent Dragons side (soon renamed Newport Gwent Dragons) as part of the Introduction of regional rugby union teams in Wales. Newport RFC continued to compete as an amateur side in the Welsh club league.


Newport finished the 2021–22 Indigo Group Premiership in second place, having sat the top of table of most of the season. They did, however, win the Premiership Cup with a 25–21 victory over Aberavon at the Millennium Stadium.[20]

Club honours

British and Irish Lions

The following former players were selected for the British and Irish Lions touring squads whilst playing for Newport RFC. Newport hold the record for the number of players from one club selected for a British Lions Tour with eight Newport players being selected for the 1910 British Lions tour to South Africa.


Wales International Captains

See also: Wales rugby union captains

The following former players captained the Wales national rugby union team whilst playing for Newport RFC.


Other notable former players

See also: Category:Newport RFC players


Current squad

Newport RFC Squad 2022/23[23]

Newport RFC squad



  • Wales Harry Bee
  • Wales Jack Gillard
  • Wales Williams Griffiths
  • Wales Henry Palmer


  • Wales Joe Bartlett
  • Wales Elliot Ferriman
  • Wales Dan Hill
  • Wales Craig Hudd
  • Wales Ryan Woodman

Back row

  • Wales Alex Gray
  • Wales Rhys Jenkins
  • Wales Ben Moa
  • Wales Josh Reid
  • Wales Ben Roach
  • Wales Joshua Skinner
  • Wales Kyle Tayler
  • Wales George Young


  • Wales Dafydd Buckland
  • Wales Luke Crane
  • Wales Che Hope
  • Wales Geraint Watkin



  • Wales Harri Ackerman
  • Wales Oli Andrew
  • Wales Jack Brooks
  • Wales Chay Foster-Smith
  • Wales Cameron Lewis
  • Wales Tom Richards
  • Wales Dafydd Smith


  • Wales Elliot Frewen
  • Wales Lloyd Lewis
  • Wales Jonathan Morris
  • Wales Cole Swannack


(c) denotes the team captain.

Games played against international opposition

Year Date Opponent Result Score Tour
1888 26 December  Māori Loss 0–3 1888 New Zealand Māori tour
1905 23 December  New Zealand Loss 3–6 1905 Original All Blacks tour
1906 27 October United Kingdom South Africa Loss 0–8 1906 South Africa rugby union tour
1908 19 December  Australia Loss 3–5 1908–09 Australia rugby union tour of Britain
1912 24 October  South Africa Win 9–3 1912–13 South Africa rugby union tour
1924 2 October  New Zealand Loss 10–13 1924–25 New Zealand tour of Britain, Ireland, France and Canada
1927 22 September Australia New South Wales Waratahs Loss 3–20 1927–28 Waratahs tour of the British Isles, France and Canada
1931 8 October  South Africa Loss 3–15 1931–32 South Africa rugby union tour
1935 31 October  New Zealand Loss 5–17 1935–36 New Zealand rugby union tour of Britain, Ireland and Canada
1947 23 October  Australia Loss 4–8 1947–48 Australia rugby union tour
1952 12 January  South Africa Loss 6–12 1951–52 South Africa rugby union tour
1954 21 January  New Zealand Loss 6–11 1953–54 All Blacks tour of the British Isles, France and North America
1957 23 November  Australia Win 11–0
1963 30 October  New Zealand Win 3–0 1963–64 New Zealand rugby union tour of Britain, Ireland, France and North America
1966 23 November  Australia Draw 3–3 1966 Australia Tour of Britain and France
1969 12 November  South Africa Won 11–6 1969 South Africa Tour of UK
1973 10 January  New Zealand Loss 15–20 1972–73 New Zealand rugby union tour of the British Isles
1974 9 October  Tonga Win 14–6 1974 Tonga Tour of the British Isles
1976 7 January  Australia Loss 7–13 1975–76 Australia rugby union tour of Britain and Ireland
1980 28 October  New Zealand Loss 3–14 1980 All Blacks tour
1985 30 October  Fiji Loss 6–7 1985 Fiji tour of the British Isles
1989 31 October  New Zealand Loss 9–54 1989 New Zealand rugby union tour of the British Isles and Canada
2001 18 November  Uruguay Win 59–5 2001 Uruguay rugby union tour of Wales

See also



  1. ^ The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur Lynch (2008) pp782 ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6
  2. ^ Parry-Jones, David (1989). The Rugby Clubs of Wales. p. 96. ISBN 0-09-173850-4.
  3. ^ WRU buy Rodney Parade.
  4. ^ "Tough start fine by Exiles boss as pitch work is set to begin". South Wales Argus. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  5. ^ Newport RFC relocate to Newport Stadium
  6. ^ a b Smith (1980), pg 25.
  7. ^ Smith (1980), pg 23.
  8. ^ "Interesting Facts". Archived from the original on 21 August 2007. Retrieved 17 November 2007.
  9. ^ Smith (1980), pg 34.
  10. ^ Smith (1980), pg 41.
  11. ^ Smith (1980), pg 40.
  12. ^ a b Smith (1980), pg 35.
  13. ^ Smith (1980), pg 71.
  14. ^ Smith (1980), pg 189.
  15. ^ Newport beat New Zealand.
  16. ^ "Newport rugby freedom presentation". Newport City Council. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  17. ^ "Rugby Union: Great Welsh divide". 28 August 1998.
  18. ^ "Rugby Union: Sun rises on bright new Newport era: Newport 18 Cardiff". 5 September 1999.
  19. ^ "Profit of doom for pro rugby".
  20. ^ "Match report: Newport RFC v Aberavon". South Wales Argus. 24 April 2022. Retrieved 6 November 2022.
  21. ^ Smith (1980), pg 485.
  22. ^ "- the history of rugby through its competitions". Archived from the original on 7 December 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  23. ^ Newport RFC Squad