Wales and New Zealand play inaugural rugby league test match 102 years ago today

1st January 2020, 17:52


Wales and New Zealand play inaugural rugby league test match 102 years ago today

 New Year's Day saw the touring party head to Wales for their first international match. Aberdare Athletic Ground was the venue of the first ever rugby league international on 1 January 1908, played between Wales and New Zealand. The New Zealand Rugby League later recognised this match as New Zealand's first ever test match.[2] Aberdare had been chosen for the venue as it could hold a larger capacity than Merthyr, in the end, an estimated 20,000 Welshmen turned up. The Welsh side contained a former Welsh amateur international as well as several players who had been playing in the Northern Union for years.

WALESChick JenkinsDai ThomasTom LlewellynBert JenkinsLlewellyn TreharneDavid BeynonJohnny ThomasDai JonesDavid DaviesOliver BurghamGeorge W. ThomasDai ReesHowell de Francis.

NEW ZEALANDHubert TurtillDally MessengerHarold RoweArthur KellyWilliam WynyardEdgar WrigleyRichard WynyardMassa JohnstonWilliam MackrellDan GilchristCharles PearceAngry CrossHercules Wright (c).

1 January 1908

Wales 9–8 New Zealand

Wales Tries: ThomasFrancisJones[15]

New Zealand Tries: KellyW.Wynyard

Goals: Messenger

Aberdare Athletic GroundAberdare

Attendance: 20,000

Dai Jones scored the winning try for Wales in the first match of international rugby league

New Zealand led the match 8–3 at halftime but the Welsh came back and Dai Jones scored a try with only minutes to go that put the Welsh 9–8 in front. Dick Wynyard then dropped a pass in front of the try line and the Welsh won the first international rugby league match.