Sport in Swansea
Just like any major city in the UK, Swansea has its fair share of impressive sporting venues and major sports clubs.
There are a number of sporting venues in Swansea. St Helen's is a cricket and rugby ground which is one of the homes of Glamorgan County Cricket Club. It was in this ground that Sir Garfield Sobers hit six sixes in one over: the first time this was achieved in a game of first-class cricket. The final ball landed on the ground past the Cricketers' pub just outside the ground. The stadium is metres from the coast of Swansea Bay. Strong local rivalries exist between Swansea and Cardiff in football and between Swansea and Llanelli in rugby. Swansea also boasts one of the largest Saturday local football leagues in the country, second only to the one in Birmingham at its peak.
Nicknamed "The Swans", the Swansea City A.F.C played from its formation in 1912 (as Swansea Town) until 1925 at the Vetch Field in Swansea city centre. In the summer of 2005, Swansea City moved to a new 20,532 all seater ground, the Liberty Stadium.
The early 1980's were Swansea's halcyon years, under the guidance of then player-Manager, John Toshack, the Swans gained promotion to the old First Division in 1981, winning 3 consecutive Welsh Cups and subsequently appearing in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup as well. However, as fast as Swansea rose up the Football League, a decline ensued just as quickly.
The Swans, moved from the Vetch Field to the new Liberty Stadium at the start of the 2005-2006 season, winning promotion to League One in their final year at their old home. The first game at the new stadium was on July 23: a football friendly between the Swans and Fulham which ended 1-1. Swansea City are currently pushing for promotion from League One to the Championship after losing to Barnsley in the League 1 play-off final at the Millennium Stadium. Swansea City have recently retained the FAW cup and on April 2nd 2006 30,000 Swans fans made the journey to Cardiff to see their side defeat Carlisle 2-1 in the Football League Trophy Final. The Swans' football following are known as the Jack Army due to the regional nickname for people from Swansea. Swansea has several clubs that play in Welsh Football League - Garden Village, Morriston Town and West End.
Swansea Rugby Football Club is a Welsh rugby union team which plays in the Welsh Premier Division. Its home ground is St Helens Rugby and Cricket Ground in Swansea. The team is sometimes known as the All Whites because of the primary colour of the team strip. The club owns 50% of the Ospreys professional rugby side.
The club was founded in 1874 and, in 1881 it became one of the eleven founder clubs of the Welsh Rugby Union. Under some protest, Swansea RFC and Neath RFC jointly formed the Neath-Swansea Ospreys in 2003, both clubs remain in existence and play in the semi-professional Welsh Premiership.
Swansea RFC defeated New Zealand 11-3 on Saturday 28th September 1935, becoming the first ever club side to beat the All Blacks.
In November 1992, Swansea RFC defeated world champions Australia 21-6, when Australia played their first match of their Welsh Tour.
Welsh Premier Division champions in:
Welsh Cup champions in:
In 2003, Swansea RFC merged with Neath RFC to form the Neath-Swansea Ospreys rugby club. Swansea RFC remains at St Helen's in semi-professional form, but the Ospreys moved to the then-named New Stadium in Landore for the start of the 2005-2006 season. The final Ospreys match at St Helen's was played on the same day as the final Swans league game at the Vetch: April 30, 2005. Swansea/Neath rugby games used to be hotly-contested matches, such that there was some debate about whether a team incorporating both areas was possible. In fact the Neath-Swansea Ospreys seem to be the most successful club since Welsh rugby's reorganisation and came fifth in the Celtic League in their first year of existence, and won that league in their second year.
Among the notable former players of Swansea RFC are William Richard Arnold, Dewi Bebb, Bleddyn Bowen, David Blyth, Colin Charvis, Tony Clement, Claude Davey, Mervyn Davies, Stuart Davies, Trevor Evans, Scott Gibbs, Garin Jenkins and a host of others.
Swansea's rugby league side play a few miles out of the city in the small town of Ystalyfera. They are known as the Swansea Valley Miners but were formed as the Swansea Bulls in 2002.