09 November 2015 / Club News

Canada Tour 1971

Canada Tour 1971


During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s Brynaman Rugby Club was indeed fortunate to have a truly forward-looking Chairman – Viv Price – who was always exploring new avenues along which the club could progress. In 1969 he responded to an advert that appeared in the local ‘South Wales Guardian’ – an advert posted by one George Jones, a native of Llandeilo, but long since emigrated to Brantford, Ontario, Canada. George wished to bring his Brantford Harlequins on tour to Wales, and it was Viv who accepted the challenge of arranging it.

By September 1969 Brantford had arrived in West Wales, and having beaten several local teams they arrived at Brynaman full of confidence. However following a hard and exciting game the Canadian Tourists’ run of victories came to an abrupt end as they were defeated by 21-6 by the ‘Greens’ on the 10th September 1969.

The ‘South Wales Guardian’ report at the time attributes their demise to ‘‘conditions which they would have feared the most, as they failed to stop a Brynaman side whose forwards dominated the loose play and whose backs were obviously more at home with a slippery ball’’.

Despite the result, the novelty of the fixture had indeed captured the imagination and most certainly helped to accelerate the planning for the reciprocal tour which eventually took place in August 1971.

Unable to get a team purely of Brynaman players, the party was eventually an amalgam of players from local clubs, particularly Llandybie under the Captaincy of Geoff Davies and Coach John Elgar Williams.

What is now available in this website's 'Club History' section, is former Brynaman RFC Trainer Jimmy Callingham’s personal account of the tour, which although not definitive undoubtedly gives a unique flavour of the hospitality and generosity afforded to all the party.

In this regard I would like to express particular thanks to Ashley Callingham for his permission to reproduce this unique individual account which has only recently come to light.

Diolch yn fawr

Andrew Roberts


** Extracts from the centenary publication ‘ Brynaman – The Village and its Rugby’ reproduced by kind permission of John Elgar Williams.

*** Please note that this is an initial draft summary of the tour events, where I would be most grateful to receive any photographs or indeed individual recollections to supplement this account. For further details please contact me by email on or via the Clubhouse on 01269-823342.

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