In this, the first detailed and original historical study of rugby union at a local level in Wales, Gwyn Prescott draws on previously unused sources to provide fresh insights into the origins and early years of the game in Wales. It also throws new light both on the significance of Cardiff to Welsh rugby in the nineteenth century and on the importance of rugby in Cardiff. At the grass roots, the game was dominated by neighbourhood clubs, largely involving working-class and lower middle-class players and administrators, rather than by institutional teams organised by social improvers. At the highest level of competition, an emphasis on civic pride meant that success on the field was more important than social exclusivity. The game was played and supported, therefore, by representatives of all classes within the town which led to rugby becoming the dominant sporting force in what was to become the capital city of Wales.
A native of Cardiff, Gwyn Prescott has been involved in rugby for most of his life as a player, administrator and historian. Educated at Cardiff High School, when he captained the Welsh Secondary Schools team in the 1960s, and Cambridge University, Gwyn was awarded an MPhil, on the history of rugby, at the University of Glamorgan. Gwyn recently completed a three-year period as Research Assistant for the International Rugby Board.
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION: 'THE CONTAGION WILL SPREAD' CHAPTER 2 FROM FOOTBALL TO RUGBY: 'NEITHER DRIBBLING FISH NOR HANDLING FOWL' CHAPTER 3 THE GAME IS ESTABLISHED:'THE RUNNING BUSINESS' CHAPTER 4 THE CLUBS: 'IN CARDIFF AND DISTRICT SURELY THEIR NAME IS LEGION' CHAPTER 5 ORGANISATION AND PARTICIPATION:'ADMINISTERED BY THE FEW, PLAYED BY THE MANY' CHAPTER 6 RUGBY'S WIDER IMPACT:'FOOTBALL OR LIFE IN CARDIFF' CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSIONS: 'THE NOBLE GAME IS NOT TOTALLY UNKNOWN HERE' APPENDICES BIBLIOGRAPHY