Press Releases 2014-2015

UWTSD welcomes the Webb Ellis Cup to the birthplace of Welsh Rugby


The most coveted prize in rugby visited Lampeter on Monday, June 29th, and saw the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) kick-starting a season of festivities as it prepares to celebrate the town as the birthplace of rugby in Wales.

The Webb Ellis Cup took centre stage at a Junior Rugby Festival for Years 5 and 6 from local primary schools.

Over 180 children were given the opportunity to take part in the festival of rugby hosted by the University at Lampeter Town RFC.  The matches were run by the WRU and the Festival gave the children taking part - as well as the people of Lampeter - the opportunity to see the cup and to have their picture taken with the trophy.

It also saw the start of the University’s celebrations as it notes the 2015 /2016 season as 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.

With articles found in the University’s archives that feature former students reminiscing about playing rugby at Lampeter in the 1850s, it is believed that matches were played between students from 1850 onwards with the first competitive match using the rugby rules played in 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 and Delme Thomas, now a fellow of the University.

Fifty years on, the University is planning a series of events including a dinner, a lecture and a special rugby fixture to mark the 150th anniversary.

An exhibition featuring an array of St David’s College rugby related items will also be on display at the University’s Roderic Bowen Library from Monday onwards and will be open to members of the public for the next year.

Supported by the Welsh Rugby Union, the 150th anniversary will celebrate Lampeter as the birthplace of rugby in Wales and will offer rugby fans across the country the opportunity to learn more about how the game was first introduced.

Note to Editor

  1. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David was established in 2010 through the merger of the University of Wales Lampeter and Trinity University College, Carmarthen. On 1 August 2013 the Swansea Metropolitan University merged with the University
  2. The University’s Royal Charter 1828 is the oldest in Wales, and it is third behind Oxford and Cambridge in Wales and England. HRH Prince of Wales is the Patron of the University
  3. On 1 August, 2013 Coleg Sir Gâr merged with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David Group, however they will keep their own brand. Coleg Ceredigion merged with the Group on 1 January 2014


Further Information

  1. For more information please contact Sian-Elin Davies, Senior PR and Communications Officer on 01267 676908 / / 07449 998476