SWANSEA Building Society has announced new sponsorship deals with two local rugby union teams – Swansea RFC (colloquially known as ‘The Whites’) and Swansea University RFC – as it continues its firm commitment to support local sports, community and charitable organisations.
Swansea ‘Whites’ was originally established in 1872 as a football club, before the team switched to the rugby code in 1874. A few years later, in 1881, Swansea RFC became one of the founding clubs of the Welsh Rugby Union and has gone on to be four-time Welsh Premier Division Champions.
The team was exceptional in its early years, once going on a 22-month unbeaten run. At a crowning moment in 1935, The Whites even beat the mighty New Zealand All Blacks 11-3, becoming the first-ever rugby union club to defeat the renowned team.
Much later, in the 1990s, the club again saw major success and recorded a historic 21-6 home win over the then world champions, Australia. The Whites home ground remains St Helen’s Rugby and Cricket Ground, overlooking Swansea Bay. The team played its first home game at the venue in 1876, with the ground hosting the first-ever home international match of Welsh rugby in 1882.
The team’s impressive roster of past players includes Gavin Henson, Dan Bigger, Mark Wyatt, Ryan Jones, and Welsh captain, Alun Wyn Jones – several of which also played for the University team during their student years.
Swansea University RFC currently has over 140 members and four teams competing every Wednesday in the BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) Rugby Union Super League. Its teams have access to world-class training facilities at Swansea Bay Sports Park and at ‘The Shed’, its elite strength and conditioning centre on the University’s Singleton Park Campus. Like Swansea ‘Whites’ RFC, the renowned St Helen’s ground plays host to the club’s home games.
The club has produced many international caps in both the men’s and women’s games over the years, with notable individuals being Alun Wyn Jones, Huw Bennet, Rhys Priestland, Rob Howley, Paul Thorburn, Katherine Ann Lenaghan, Siwan Lillicrap and Amy Price.
Another former Alumni, Chris White, has also gone on to become one of the sport’s leading referees, having officiated at 50 test matches, including three World Cups.
Alun Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Swansea Building Society, said: “We are delighted to be able to support two local sports teams that play such an important role in the sporting lives of the people of Swansea.
“Swansea RFC has an incredibly rich history in the area and a global reputation within the rugby community. The University club, likewise, is well known for a centre of sporting excellence and has hosted many international stars with great success on the pitch over the years. We wish both teams the very best of luck for the season.”