Press Releases 2016

Former UWTSD Carmarthen student and Wales and Lions legend Barry John is awarded an honorary fellowship


The University of  Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) has celebrated Lampeter as the birthplace of rugby in Wales with a full day of rugby related events, that also saw former Wales and Lions Legend Barry John, awarded an honorary UWTSD fellowship.

Barry John was awarded the fellowship during a ceremony attended by distinguished guests, which also included recent UWTSD fellow and rugby great, Delme Thomas and Derek Quinnell.

Speaking during the ceremony, UWTSD Head of School: Sport, Health and Outdoor Education, Ceredig Emmanuel said: “We have a king amongst us here today, King Barry John. He was bestowed that title and honour by the New Zealand rugby public as the most gifted and creative outside half the world has known.

“Barry John mesmerized his opponents. Never before or since has a British Lions touring side won a test series against the mighty All Blacks. This defeat was masterminded by Lions coach, the late Carwyn James, a former Trinity lecturer and outside half Barry John, also a former Trinity student.

“Delme Thomas, a recent fellow of UWTSD and Derek Quinnell also played no small part in that defeat. We pay homage to Barry and it is most fitting that as we celebrate 150 years of rugby in Wales, that at this university, on this Lampeter campus, we equally honour and celebrate the life of our most gifted former rugby playing student.”

UWTSD Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor said: “It is a great honour for us to meet you and to accept you as an honorary fellow. We acknowledge your national contribution and accept that contribution and today we offer you the fellowship of the University.”

The 2015 /2016 season is the 150th anniversary of the first competitive rugby match ever played in Wales.  The game was played on the University’s playing fields in the town and the match was between St David’s College (now UWTSD) and nearby Llandovery College.

It is widely accepted that rugby was introduced to Wales by the Rev. Professor Rowland Williams, who became Vice-Principal of St David’s College in 1850 and who’d played Rugby Football as a student at Kings College, Cambridge.  The Welsh Rugby Union has also given the anniversary celebration its full support, acknowledging Lampeter’s importance to the birth of rugby in Wales.

With articles in the University’s archives featuring former students reminiscing about playing rugby at Lampeter in the 1850s, rugby matches were certainly thought to have been played between students from 1850 onwards, although the first competitive match using the rugby rules wasn’t played until 1866.

A centenary event was held in 1966 that featured a rugby match between St David’s College and an Invitational Welsh XV which featured some of the era’s greats, including former UWTSD Carmarthen lecturer, the late Carwyn James; former UWTSD Carmarthen student, Barry John as well as Wales legend, Delme Thomas, now a fellow of the University.

Fifty years on, the University held a full day of events, which included two special rugby fixtures – one between the University and Town’s Women’s Rugby Teams and another between the University and the invitational side, Welsh Academicals.

A book has also been published, written by local historian, Selwyn Walters that was launched between the rugby matches and a memorial will be unveiled on the University’s campus in the town to commemorate Rowland Williams’ contribution to Welsh rugby.

An exhibition featuring an array of St David’s College rugby related items is also on display at the University’s Roderic Bowen Library.


Note to Editor

Further information: 

Rebecca Davies

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Corporate Communications and PR
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