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Scene set for centenary celebration

STADIWM CSM will host a day of rugby and celebration for two key partners of the Welsh Rugby Union next Saturday (August 6).

With both Urdd Gobaith Cymru and Crawshay’s Welsh RFC celebrating their centenary this year, the organisations will play each other at Under 18 level in men’s and women’s matches – followed by a pre-season run-out for RGC who will stage an RGC Rebels v RGC Barbarians match.

The Welsh Rugby Union is supporting the teams in a number of ways including coaching, match officials and fan engagement.

The whole day is free of charge and will include rugby activities for all ages from 12 noon and between matches.

WRU Community Director Geraint John said: “We are thrilled to be able to facilitate this double centenary celebration. Both the Urdd and Crawshay’s are fantastic partners in helping to grow the community game and in terms of providing opportunities for young people to develop and showcase their talents as players, coaches and administrators.

“Both organisations are rightly proud of the role they play in developing Welsh rugby talent and I’m sure the two Under 18 matches will unearth talented players for the future of the game in Wales.

“We are also pleased to host the day at Stadiwm CSM and thank Conwy Council for their continued support. Conwy Council is another important long-term partner for Welsh rugby, they have been critical in the growth and development of RGC and North Wales rugby and I’m sure Ceri Jones will utilise this match to test out players and combinations before the start of the Indigo Group Premiership season.”

Urdd Chief Executive Sian Lewis said “Not only is this occasion a unique way of celebrating both the Urdd’s and Crawshays’ centenary, but it is also a way of paying tribute to a special rugby match held half a century ago, to celebrate 50 years of the Urdd.

“On April 26, 1972, a star-studded rugby match between Welsh players and members of the British and Irish Lions rugby team took place at Cardiff Arms Park to support the Urdd’s 50th anniversary.

“Carwyn James and Barry John were asked to raise a team of giants to face each other. Barry John would select his team mainly from the Welsh national team who had won both the Triple Crown and the Rugby Championship in 1971, and many of these were also among the British Lions that beat the All Blacks in New Zealand.

“Carwyn James’ XV would be drawn mainly from the English, Scottish and Irish ‘Lions’. They had no difficulty in enlisting the necessary players – most of the Welsh players still considered themselves members of the Urdd, and everyone was more than happy to play for the benefit of Wales’ main youth movement.

“It was a historic occasion for more than one reason. With three minutes to go, Barry John scored a classic try to win the game. Only a few people knew that Barry was to retire from rugby, and that this famous try at the Urdd game was to be his last ever.

“The Urdd now celebrates its 100th anniversary, and these celebration matches present a completely unique opportunity for our members once again. The rugby games will nurture talent for the future and offer a special platform for our young players.

“I would like to the WRU for their ongoing partnership and for making this event possible, as well as Stadiwm CSM. It is a great way to thank all the staff and volunteers – organisers, coaches, and referees – who work tirelessly throughout the year to give our young people amazing experiences and opportunities to enjoy playing rugby and opportunities to socialise with their friends.”

Crawshay’s Welsh RFC Chair Richard Brice said: “Captain Geoffrey Crawshay created Crawshay’s Welsh RFC in 1922 to spread the word of rugby football and give young rugby players an opportunity to play in different environments thus creating character skills and capabilities.

“Similarly Urdd has giving of experiences through activity at the heart of its ethos and I therefore can’t think of a better way for both organisations to celebrate their centenary than to have 96 selected young adults playing in a unique rugby match.”

“I am delighted to say that, 100 years on since our first game, the spirit of Crawshay’s remains the same. It is how the game is played on and off the field that matters and the friendships that are made for life. In the fast-changing world of rugby and sport, the spirit of Crawshay’s never changes – our committed management are still pursuing Captain Geoffrey’s dream. Having already played in Cornwall and France this year, we are all delighted to add Colwyn Bay to the roster of places visited in our special season.”

Alun Pritchard, General Manager, North Wales Rugby Development Region added: “At RGC, we are delighted to be hosting this wonderful festival of rugby, celebrating 100 years of the Urdd and further developing our growing relationship with Crawshay’s.

“For the North Wales u18 players involved in the Urdd v Crawshay’s matches, this will give them an opportunity to test themselves against high quality opposition, and for the girls especially, will be an opportunity to catch the eye of the national selectors.

“This will also be an opportunity for RGC Head Coach Ceri Jones and his team to take a look at our wider squad as well as some other talented players in the region who may want to start their journey with RGC.

“The fact that all of this is free of charge to the supporters here in North Wales is great and should prove to be a fantastic day for everyone that come along.”