The Welsh Rugby Union celebrates its 130th anniversary this weekend with the RBS 6 Nations clash with Ireland falling on the same date that the Welsh governing body was founded.
Saturday, March 12, 1881 saw 11 clubs gather at the Castle Hotel in Neath to create the Welsh Rugby Football Union.
Representatives from the founding members – Bangor, Brecon, Cardiff, Llandeilo, Llandovery, Llanelli, Lampeter, Merthyr, Newport, Pontypool and Swansea – will be special guests at this Saturday’s match.
Links between Wales and Ireland at international level have been strong throughout the 130 years. Although Wales played England a month before the meeting in Neath, the first Welsh team picked under the auspices of the then WRFU was to face Ireland in Dublin on January 28, 1882.
That fixture also provided Wales with its first win, by two goals and two tries to nil, but not before the Irish had been reduced to 11 men. Two of the home team walked off in disgust after ‘sundry disputes’ with the Welsh umpire, the WRFU secretary Richard Mullock, and two others went off injured.
This weekend’s game will be Wales’ 620th international, the 325th at home and the 254th played in Cardiff. The 70,000-plus crowd will also take attendances at Wales’ 79 capped games at the Millennium Stadium through the 5 million barrier.
The game will be the 12th international played by Wales on March 12 down the 130 years and incredibly, every one of them has been against the Irish. The last occasion was 45 years ago in Dublin when the home side won 9-6.
Wales lead Ireland 62-47 in 115 matches played since 1882 and are 6-5 ahead in games played on March 12.
WALES v IRELAND MATCHES ON MARCH 12:
1887: Wales won by a drop goal and a try to three tries at Birkenhead Park
1904: Ireland 14 Wales 12, Belfast
1910: Ireland 3 Wales 19, Dublin
1921: Ireland 0 Wales 6, Belfast
1927: Ireland 19 Wales 9, Dublin
1932: Ireland 12 Wales 10, Cardiff
1938: Wales 11 Ireland 5, Swansea
1949: Wales 0 Ireland 3, Swansea
1955: Wales 21 Ireland 3, Cardiff
1960: Ireland 9 Wales 10, Dublin
1966: Ireland 9 Wales 6, Dublin