People's Theatre - A Century of Welsh Rugby

In Wales rugby football grew up in the communities of the industrial south. It was imbued with Welsh culture and aspirations, and provided drama for the Welsh people. This article by David Smith celebrates the centenary of the Welsh Rugby Union.

In 1905 the Imperial Russian Navy, Britain's ally in the cause against German encroachment, after sailing around the world was ignominiously defeated by the rampant Japanese whose ships, the Kaiser gleefully noted, were fired by coal from Cardiff. Throughout that year a major religious revival, the last of its kind in Wales, had been cakewalking its high-stepping way from chapel to chapel as if to etch Welsh religiosity on the consciousness of the world. When the Liberals took office in late 1905 David Lloyd George became the first Welshman to attain cabinet rank since the seventeenth century and in the subsequent general election of January 1906, Wales approved wholeheartedly by returning Unionist seats to the Liberals. Perhaps they were still celebrating the victory of December 16th, 1905, when Wales became the only country, and indeed team of any description, to defeat (3-0) the all-conquering All Blacks from New Zealand.

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