Neath RFC: Rising from Resilience to Rebellion

7 minutes, 4 seconds Read

Neath RFC: Rising from Resilience to Rebellion

Neath RFC, the birthplace of rugby in Wales, is reclaiming its legacy. Tired of feeling sidelined and overlooked by the rugby union that was founded to support grassroots rugby, Neath RFC is making an indomitable comeback. This storied club is proving its relevance with an outpouring of support from fans and sports and entertainment stars alike, all drawn to what Neath RFC has always stood for: Community and Togetherness.

When Neath RFC was excluded from joining the EDC, many saw it as a setback. But what no one anticipated was the powerful resurgence fueled by the club’s ardent supporters and a host of high-profile admirers. Rugby greats have lauded Neath for being the foundation of rugby excellence, highlighting how many top players, including Jonathan Davies OBE (Jiffy), Sir Ron Waldron, All Blacks star Xavier Rush, Shane Williams MBE, Alix Popham, and many more, got their start at Neath.

Neath RFC’s resurgence was a masterclass in community spirit and innovative marketing. Spearheaded by James Hadley, founder of Lextan and a visionary with a passion for the club and the stadium sponsor (The Lextan Gnoll) Neath RFC has redefined what it means to be a rugby club. Hadley, with his clear vision and impeccable strategy, brought Sian Gunney and a powerhouse team in to work on the project, knowing that disruption often precedes great success.

“Neath RFC has shown the public, our loyal supporters and more importantly the establishment who denied us entry to the so called ‘elite league’ this is how you do it!” James Hadley Founder of Lextan and Stadium sponsor

After clocking up over 15 million views and engagement skyrocketing making Neath RFC trend on Twitter

Tweets such as the below showed the admiration for Neath RFC in their disruption campaign in Sport.
Paul Williams Columnist for Rugby World Mag and BKT United Rugby Championship tweeted the following

The club’s recent event extravaganza was a spectacle never before seen in Welsh rugby or rugby in the United Kingdom. Drawing inspiration from the Canadian sports scene, which is renowned for its match-day entertainment, Neath RFC staged an unforgettable event that blended sport, entertainment, and community. The day featured the Super Choir UK, a 100-strong rock choir, and was emceed by the incomparable Matthew Pritchard of MTV’s Dirty Sanchez, now a TV chef and author of Dirty Vegan. Pritchard’s star performance on the pitch, complete with smoke grenades and wild music, marked a pivotal moment for Neath RFC. Let’s not forget the dancers from the events company Heels Empowerment Events who put a smile on fans face and the video of the event shows the fans of all ages dancing along. Food trucks surrounded the Lextan Gnoll from the donut company, Oysters and cigars Luxe, Love food co and even the award-winning posh fish and chip co fed the crowds!
Adding to the entertainment was a viral video by Russell Kane, Britain’s most adored straight-talking comedian, which had die-hard Neath fans from 17-70 laughing until they cried. This blend of comedy, music, and sport created a unique atmosphere, one that Wales had never experienced at a rugby game.
Watch this Facebook Reel to see Neath RFC Reinvent the Game to Entertain here : (Please imbed this video into the article so it plays when clicked)

Paula Burns from Paula Burns Events was our event management consultant and was delighted to take on the responsibility of managing all the activities surrounding the event. “My ethos has always been centred around bringing people together and creating unique experiences away from everyday life’, says Paula. ‘This Extravaganza is all about the feel good and we are bringing it to the Neath community! I am so excited to be a part of it.”

Despite not being approved for the EDC, Neath RFC negotiated behind the scenes to ensure a level playing field in both business and sport moving forward. This resilience, now transformed into a spirit of rebellion, is what drives Neath RFC today.

Neath RFC, playing in the Indigo Premiership for the 2023/24 season, continues to draw strength from its community. The club’s home ground, The Lextan Gnoll, has become a beacon of what can be achieved when a community comes together. The Neath supporters, galvanized by the club’s rich history and promising future, have shown that their spirit and passion are unmatchable.

In Wales, community is our strength. Neath RFC embodies this ethos, moving people and selling out games, even on Boxing Day. My years of experience in PR stunts, experiential marketing, and sports branding, from transforming the Cardiff Devils to working with global stars and brands, have prepared me for this moment. I am proud to bring this wealth of experience back home to Wales, contributing to a vibrant, community-centered vision for Neath RFC.

The time for resilience has passed; now is the era of rebellion. Neath RFC is not just surviving but thriving, leading the way in rugby entertainment.

Together, we can revitalize rugby, infuse it with new energy, and captivate audiences while giving back to the incredible community in Neath. Let’s elevate rugby to new heights and ensure Neath RFC’s place at the forefront of Welsh and world sports entertainment.

If you would like to follow this (sports disruption) story online you can search in news on google to find the press stories that mounted up leading up to this event.

“I only hope that the excitement for Neath RFC will encourage more sponsors and perhaps bigger brand names particularly rebel brands – that aren’t afraid to stand out!” – Sian Gunney
Neath RFC: Changing the Game to Entertain!

About Neath RFC:
Established in 1871 Neath RFC stands as the oldest rugby club in Wales. With a rich history rooted in tradition, the club is now set to redefine the game, bringing entertainment and innovation to the forefront.

A massive shout-out goes to Pinnacle Scaffolding, whose unwavering support has been a cornerstone of Neath RFC’s resurgence, embodying excellence in everything the club stands for in recent years. Serving as our steadfast sponsor for countless seasons, they’ve not only provided crucial financial backing but also invaluable business acumen, propelling us to our current standing.

Lextan has injected a breath of fresh air into our journey. Led by James and his exceptional team, they’ve been a driving force, laying the groundwork for our success. They’ve shared with us the winning formula that defines Lextan, evident in remarkable amenities like an onsite recovery centre and a top-tier private gym for our players.

Both entities share our vision of a thriving Neath and surrounding areas, recognising Neath RFC as an integral part of that vision.

Our heartfelt appreciation extends to Castell Howell, leading suppliers in food and beverage, along with Doombar, Derwen Recycling & Waste Management, Scott’s Timber, Wave Environment Solutions, and Hutchison Thomas, whose steadfast support has been invaluable. We’re excited to welcome Peter Morgan Estates, NexCar, T&T Construction, AU Vodka, and Penderyn to the Neath RFC family! Their alignment with our ethos, vision, and ambitions promises exciting times ahead.

We have formed a new partnership with the Welsh Seven series for the round two event on the 15th and 16th of June, this will be an Elite and development sevens tournament and part of the Dramatic Heart of Wales Sevens.

We’re also thrilled to announce an exciting new partnership with Wales Rugby League. On the 3rd of August, Wales under 16s take on England under 16s at the Lextan Gnoll. Then, on the 18th of August, join us for Welsh Finals Day, featuring six finals culminating in the men’s final under the lights. And we are putting things in place to house the men’s Welsh Internationals starting in October.

Are Neath RFC switching codes? Who knows? I wouldn’t rule anything out on this mighty club’s rebellious journey! But one thing is for sure – with our incredible players, coaches, sponsors, fans, and fantastic affiliated clubs like the Neath Panthers and walking Ruby, we are taking our place as the coolest club in rugby!

Website Links


MAIN HOME 2024-25 -with fixtures

Follow Neath RFC on Social Media:

Similar Posts