When the Ospreys take on Stade Francais Paris at the Principality Stadium next month it will rekindle a relationship that first began between the French capital club and the region dating back to 1899
For that was the year that Swansea RFC, considered the strongest team in the northern hemisphere at this time, made history by becoming the first Welsh side to cross the channel and play in France. Where Swansea led, Cardiff, Neath, Newport, Monmouthshire, Glamorgan and even Treherbert soon followed suit.
But there was a special bond built between the All Whites and Stade Francais which saw them play six times in a 15 year period.
16.04.1899 Stade Francais 3, Swansea 30
24.02.1900 Swansea 41, Stade Francais 0
16.02.1904 Stade Francais 0, Swansea 21
01.04.1905 Swansea 21, Stade Francais 3
18.03.1909 Stade Francais 11, Swansea 27
24.02.1914 Stade Francais 5, Swansea 12
There was due to be another fixture in 1910, when the French club were set to play three fixtures in South Wales. But the strike by the miners that year meant they didn’t risk making the trip, despite assurances for their safety from the secretary of the WFU, Walter Rees.
EVENING EXPRESS, 16 DECEMBER, 1910
STADE FRANCAISE AND COAL STRIKE
It is understood that the Stade Francaise Football Team have sought to cancel their engagements with Swansea, Llanelly, end Aberavon on account of the fact that the parents of the players are unwilling for them to visit Wales owing to the coal strike. Mr Walter Rees has given them assurances which it is hoped will be satisfactory.
The first meeting between Stade Francais and Swansea could quite easily have been billed as the battle of the French and Welsh champions. Stade had been involved in every French Championship since that great competition first began in 1892, winning the title in 1893-95, 1897 and 1898. In 1890, Stade Français had been the first French Club to adopt the rules then generally prevalent in Britain and so, were the first to qualify to play clubs from across "La Manche".
Two weeks after losing to Swansea 30-3, Stade Francais lost their French title to Stade Bordelais. That season the All White scored almost 700 points in all games as they swept almost everyone before them with some breathtaking rugby.
It cost £200 for the inaugural Swansea trip to Paris and in 1914 the club’s balance sheet revealed they received a guarantee of £120 from Stade Francais to make the trip that season. The first fixture, however, wasn’t without its detractors and among them was one of the most powerful voices in Welsh rugby, the Swansea Town MP and President of the Welsh Football Union, Sir John Llewellyn.
The first President of Swansea RFC, Sir John objected to the game being played on a Sunday. He later ensured the WFU passed a resolution banning Welsh clubs from playing on a Sunday at home or away:
EVENING EXPRESS, 16 DECEMBER, 1898
Sir John Llewellyn, M.P., a strong supporter of the Swansea Football Club, has, it appears, written to the club protesting against the proposed trip of the team to Paris, as it necessitated playing football on Sunday, a thing he strenuously objects to. The committee have decided that they cannot now break faith with the Stade Francais and the match will come off on the Sunday fixed.
There was further condemnation of the game after it had been played, from North Wales:
MONTGOMERYSHIRE ECHO, 22 APRIL, 1899
Welsh people will be sorry to learn that a Swansea football team journeyed to Paris and played a match on Sunday with the Stade Francais. This is a violation of the sanctity of the Sabbath which the Press and Pulpit throughout the Principality should denounce with the utmost vigour. It shows clearly what the influence of football is.
But from a rugby point of view, the game was a huge success and led to a reciprocal fixture in Swansea the next year – eight years before the first international fixture between Wales and France. Here are some of the contemporary reports on those first few matches.
THE SOUTH WALES DAILY POST, 14 APRIL, 1899
SWANSEA V PARIS
THE FRENCH TEAM
INTEREST IN PARIS
"Freelance" informs us that the French team against Swansea will be comprised as follows: Paris - Back, De Brum; threequarters, Rischmann, Giroux, Moulu and Lewis half-backs, Amand and Binoche; forwards, Lefebore, Aitoif, Roosevelt, Gauthier, Mamelle, Dedet, Olivier, and Betlencourt.
As has been previously stated in the columns, Lewis, the Stade threequarter, is a native of Swansea. The "Journal Des Sports" has the following references to the Swansea visit: “We have had this season international matches of various sorts, English, Scotch, and Irish, but we shall see on Sunday next a Paris team playing the champion club of Wales, the Swansea F.C. We have already spoken about this celebrated team, and it is certain we shall have Rugby football as it should be played. The Swansea team have a threequarter line of no ordinary merit. We have already given the Swansea team's record for the, season, and it is sufficient to repeat that they have scored 678 points against their adversaries. As we expected, the Welshmen have agreed to play Paris instead of against the Stade Francais, which will make the game more interesting and close."
WHAT THE "DAILY MAIL" SAYS
The "Daily Mail" football critic observes: "Swansea, probably the strongest Rugby team in the United Kingdom this season, are going to Paris to play the Stade Francais on Sunday, and, as usual, the Parisians are investing the match with, international importance; their own team is not merely a Parisian one, but more or less representative of “France" and should they win Paris will forget Fashoda and crow afresh. There is faint chance, however, of the opportunity to crow being afforded them."
SOUTH WALES DAILY NEWS, 17 APRIL, 1899
WELSHMEN IN FRANCE
SWANSEA PLAY A NATIONAL XV AND TEACH THEM A LESSON
The Swansea Club, who, despite the loss of the Brothers James at a critical stage of the season, occupy the proud position of Welsh champions for the year, have established another record, for they are the first Welsh club to play a Rugby football match outside the British Isles. On Sunday in Paris they met and defeated a representative French team - the Stade Francais Club, with whom the fixture was made, having been permitted to strengthen their side. There was a big assemblage, and despite the wretched weather, which militated against the Welshmen giving a display of pretty passing, a spectacular treat was given. The home team appeared to better advantage than ever, but they were nonplussed by the smart combination of their visitors, who won by 30 points to 3. Tries were scored by Gordon (2), Hopkin, Davies, Rees, and Scrines, while George Davies dropped a goal. Lockman, who is performing so well as Bancroft's substitute, kicked four goals. Chief credit for the arrangement of the fixture is due to Mr Livingston, the president of the Swansea committee. The visit has cost about £200. Next season the chief French club will visit Wales, and matches will be played against Swansea and Newport, if a scratch game be not arranged at Cardiff. The London Welsh will also be opposed in the Metropolis. Football is becoming very popular in Paris, and such exhibitions as the latest are likely to stimulate a general interest in the game throughout the gymnasia of France.
A WALK OVER
(Press Association Special Telegraph) Paris, Sunday.
A match was played here this afternoon between the Stade Francais and Swansea, the Welsh team winning by 30 points to 3. The Frenchmen, having won the toss, played in the first half with the wind, which was blowing very strongly. Just as the Welshmen kicked off a deluge of rain descended, drenching the ground, the players, and the spectators, but the game was not interrupted. From the outset it was evident that the Welshmen were far superior to their rivals, although the latter were much the heavier team. The rapidity and science with which the Welsh three-quarters handled and passed the ball puzzled the Frenchmen considerably, their strength lying more in their forward play. Within a few minutes from the kick-off Gordon, after two passes, obtained a try, which was not converted owing to the wind and the difficult position. Shortly afterwards the Stade Francais placed their first and only goal. For the Welshmen Davies obtained a second try, which was converted. In the second half Swansea obtained three goals from tries, a dropped goal, and one try. Towards the end the Frenchmen grew desperate, and, according to the Mayor of Swansea, played rather more roughly than was necessary, as the cut lips of some of the Welshmen testify. Both players and spectators, however, were full of admiration for the play of the Welshmen.
SOUTH WALES DAILY NEWS, 24 APRIL, 1899
FRENCH PRESS OPINIONS
What was thought of the Paris team – all of them French except Roosevelt, the American, and Lewis, a Welshman from Havre - by the Parisians themselves may be gathered from certain expressions let fall in the French sporting Press. On the morning of the encounter the ‘Journal its Sports’ wrote: “The encounter will be of the hottest and closest, as well as of the finest and most varied. If Swansea wins, as is probable, it will be by sheer perfection of play. We cannot ask for more."
The next day the Journal de Sports commented:
"We hoped to profit by our. superior weight and by the defensive qualities of our admirable three-quarter line - reinforced by Giroux, the unreplaceable, who had not been available for the London Scottish fixture - to keep the game tight and to disconcert these new antagonists. Nothing of the kind happened. The Welshmen, of very ordinary appearance, troubled themselves very little about our proceedings. After some hesitation at the debut, while they were watching for the weak points of our national team, they took up their game, and we were able to appreciate the great beauty and finesse of their system."
M. Dedet, one of the French forwards, reporting the match in the Soleil, complains that the Welshmen resorted to tricks, and did not play football of the highest order. He takes two off their score, and calls the total 28, because one of the kicks at goal from a try succeeded “through mere luck."
EVENING EXPRESS, 24 FEBRUARY, 1900
FRENCH FOOTBALLERS' AT SWANSEA
The football match at Swansea today (Saturday) between the Stade Francais and the All Whites will not be devoid of humour. The Frenchmen's idea of the game, according to the report of last year's match, is decidedly limited, and, adding to that the partiality they have of lying on the ball in the same manner as a hen sits on her egg, the spectators will have something more than the ordinary incidents of the game to watch. The kick-off is timed for 3.30, and cheap excursions are being run from all parts of West Wales. The teams will be entertained to dinner at the Hotel Metropole after the match. Sir John Llewellyn, M.P., will preside, and amongst others expected to be present will be the mayor of Swansea. Mr. Harry Bowen will be the referee.
A MATCH OF STRONG INTEREST
BIG CROWD AT ST. HELEN'S
ENTHUSIASTIC RECEPTION OF THE FRENCHMEN
Undoubtedly the most interesting match in Wales in recent years - international contests excluded - was that between Swansea, probably the champion Rugby team of Great Britain, and Stade Francais, the leading football organisation in France. It is needless to state that the event had created tremendous interest in the principality, and there was every indication that there would be a monster attendance. The introduction of the Rugby code into the fair country of France has been watched with no small attention by British followers of the game - and is their name not legion - and it was with a considerable measure of curiosity that Welsh followers of football awaited the exhibition of our Stade friends. The teams had met on one previous occasion - at the end of last season - when Swansea achieved a somewhat easy victory, although the French forwards gave an excellent account of themselves, and the side as a whole acquitted themselves creditably and rendered a display of much promise. In honour of the visit of "our dear neighbours," the French flag floated from the Hotel Metropole and from various public and commercial buildings. As an indication of the strength of the French forwards, it is interesting to mention that in weight they average thirteen stone. The visitors were, however, without one of their regular halves and it was expected that they would avail themselves of the services of one of the Swansea second men. The teams were:
STADE FRANCAIS. Back, Paul de Silva; three-quarters, A Rischman, A. Givorex, Louis, and S. Lagnivacci; half- backs. and H. Amand (captain); forwards, G. Gautier, Ch. Trupet, Ch. Marais, L. Dedet, M. Bellencourt, H Demenves, T. P. Potter, and J. Oliver. Reserves, A de Longchamps and P. Mielvaque.
SWANSEA. Back, W.J. Bancroft (captain); three-quarters, W. F. Trew, George Davies, D. Rees, and F. Gordon: half-backs, D. M. Owens and R. Jones; forwards, R Thomas, F. Scrines, W. Parker, H. Davies, D. Harries, Joseph, A Smith, and S. Bevan.
Referee: Mr. D. H. Bowen (Llanelly)
ON THE FIELD
On the whole the weather was perfectly agreeable, and considering the heavy rains of the last few days the ground was in a good condition. There was a splendid attendance, the assembly at 3.30 being of tremendous proportions. There was, to all appearances, a gate of between 11,000 and 12,000 when the game started. Prior to the commencement of hostilities the teams entered the arena, where they were photographed, and an index to the feeling of the crowd with regard to the Frenchmen was given in a reception as cordial and unanimous as could he wished for. When, fifteen minutes later, the Frenchmen reappeared on the ground, the band struck up the Marsellaise, the Welsh National Anthem greeted the appearance of the All Whites. Both teams were also cheered lustily. Howells, one of the Swansea Seconds, took the place of Andermand, one of the French halves, who was unable to journey to Wales.
Bancroft started from the town end with a huge kick, and De Silva allowed the ball to go over and touched down. After the kick out, Henri Quex was conspicuous with some strong defensive play, this being followed by a scrum.
The Frenchmen seemed to get the better of the argument, and the ball was sent to Bancroft, who found touch quickly. Swansea got the ball from the next scrum, and Rees made an attempt to burst through on the left wing. He was kept out, however, and French forwards dribbled back. Swansea were not to be denied, and found their way to French territory when Rischman came to the rescue with a brilliant kick, and gained considerable ground.
Trew next obtained the open, and dodged his way through for a considerable distance, when he was stopped by Dedec, who tackled very finely. Paris now got to work with some telling forward play, but the Welshmen, repulsing the attack, drove their opponents back to the line, where Rischman however, with great alertness, secured the ball, and came off splendidly with a sprint which carried operations beyond midway line. The game was being contested in the most admirable spirit, and the spectators were exceedingly pleased. Rees eventually with a try, which Gordon, however, failed to convert. Cagninacci afterwards sent the ball to Bancroft, who made a poor kick in the direction of Gordon.
The general had a difficult task to perform in running to recover the ball, but he did so successfully, and after beating Henri Quex, Cagniacci and Amand set the whole team going with a fine display of passing, which took operations close to the French line, where, owing to some irregularity, a scrum was ordered. Immediately afterwards Trew received and scored, Bancroft failing to convert. Swansea continued to manoeuvre in French territory, and after putting his men in a favourable position, Bancroft enabled George Davies to drop a magnificent goal.
The Welshmen were now 10 points to the good. The contest continued to be waged in the very best of humour, and the spectators were exceedingly humorous over the determined tackling of the visitors. Swansea continued to get the best of it, but the Stade endeavoured to show that they were never beaten, and whether the whistle went or not they pegged away. Bancroft having failed to drop a goal, one of the homesters stated an interesting movement, and dribbled in fine style up to Rischman and Amand who, in turns, carried the game to within ten yards of the Swansea line. The visitors were doing good work when Trew splendidly got the ball, and the Swansea man ran quickly to Paul de Silva, and having eluded him, cleverly ran to the goal line and crossed. Bancroft converted.
Half-time Score: Swansea – 2 goals (1 Dropped), 2 tries. Paris Team – Nil.
After breathing time, Swansea almost immediately attacked, and were doing finely, when Waller got hurt and had to retire. After the restart Owens got the ball and threw out to Rees, who nearly ran through the lot. Gautier kicked back, but Joseph secured at half-way and dribbling his way well into Paris ground, he transferred to Smith, and the latter gave to Parker at the right moment, the Swansea forward scoring.
The kick-out saw Parker making a mark at mid-way, and when Dedet grassed him after the whistle went there were roars of laughter. Play was somewhat uninteresting until Amand got hold and ran down to Swansea ground. Some tight scrimmaging subsequently ensued at the centre and a long kick down the ground found Bancroft out of position.
Trew took matters somewhat too leisurely in endeavouring to recover and Amand and Howells dribbling on, Stade Francais were within an ace of scoring. Gordon was the man who saved the situation, and his smart movement culminated in the home side getting on the aggressive. Yard by yard Swansea travelled back, and Trew, taking the ball, ran to the rubicon and scored another try, although Blanchard did his utmost to overtake him. Bancroft easily negotiated.
The Frenchmen continued to play up gamely, but their resistance, although occasionally powerful, was insufficient to withstand the close pressure of the Welshmen, and a few minutes afterwards Rees scored another try, Bancroft again doing the needful. Dedet and Henri Quex were subsequently conspicuous in a very nice passing movement down the ground. Gordon intercepted, however, and giving to Bancroft, the latter put the side on attack, and the ball going to the French line, the Welshmen seemed certain scorers, when an irregularity robbed the movement of success.
Five minutes afterwards there was a great concerted movement by the All Whites, which saw Scrines taking a pass from Gordon and scoring a try, which Bancroft experienced little difficulty in improving upon. Although Swansea were putting together such a nice total of points, there were many features in the French display which were very creditable.
The tackling was uniformly good and the forwards were bucking up to the occasion as if they only wanted one point to gain a victory. The All Whites, however, with a vigorous tally, once more got on the move, and Dick Jones, giving Bancroft a short swift pass, ten yards out, the Swansea skipper scored a try in the corner. Gordon was given the kick at the posts, and although the attempt was a good one, it missed the mark. Stade were now beaten hands down, and it was only a question whether there was sufficient time for Swansea to score again. Shortly before the conclusion Rees ran across with another score, which was beautifully negotiated by Bancroft, and a minute later the whistle went.
FINAL SCORE: SWANSEA 6 goals (1 dropped) 4 tries. PARIS TEAM Nil.
NOTES ON THE GAME
A brilliant attendance derived from near, far, and wide, honoured the initial exhibition of Rugby football on Welsh soil as exposed by a French organisation.
In fact, judging the contest from any standpoint, there is no loop- hole for anything else but satisfaction. The contest was an agreeable affair from top to bottom it was the pleasantest game of the Swansea season, and this notwithstanding, a vigorous exposition of the favourite code. Forty-one points to love is an enormous score, of course, but really there were so many captivating features of the game that it did not appear one-half as one-sided as the score actually denotes it to have been.
No matter how rapidly the Welsh champions scored, the sons of fair France continued asserting themselves gamely. Rugby football in France is evidently a plucky article, for certainly the Stade players never acknowledged themselves beaten, but kept pegging away until the very end. It is evident that one of the great attractions of the game in the future will be the fixtures between leading British and French clubs, inasmuch as this afternoon's display of Frenchmen, however crude it may have been in many respects, betrayed no inconsiderable promise.
Stade Francais, however, were palpably weak in combination and attack. The over-confidence of some of the Swansea players enabled the visitors to get close into the home rubicon, but the absence of real method and cohesion prevented any scoring being harvested. Swansea, on the contrary, were enabled to win handsomely by virtue of an overwhelming preponderance of concerted action.
There was such a complete understanding between the home players as to render their movements perfectly machine-like. It was no unusual thing for the French attack to be instantly reversed into Welsh ditto, the ball travelling from hand to hand until over three-parts of the field were covered. The tackling of the Frenchmen was uniformly correct, and in no department was this more evident than in front. Two or three of the French forwards could be a credit to any team, but the majority at the scrummages seemed to be out of training.
Of the French forwards I fancied Dedot - he went hot and strong right through - Blanchard and Gautier. Certainly they were the most noticeable in the open and possessed a very nice turn of speed in following-up. Amand performed creditably in defence, and on at least one occasion appeared to be a by no means uncertain scorer. Howells, who partnered him, worked hard.
The pick of the French team, however, was Rischman, who played a really strong game right through. He was powerful both in attack and defence, and he invariably found touch smartly and with accuracy. Paul de Silva, if not a brilliant, was a safe custodian; taking no liberties, but fielding quickly and directing the ball safely into touch. Scientific play, as we know it on this side of the Channel, was not conspicuous with the Frenchmen, but today's display of the Swansea backs will be a revelation to them as to the distinct value of the passing game.
The visitors had a magnificent reception, with which they were evidently delighted. Stade Francais may always rely upon an enthusiastic greeting at the hands of the Celts. I wish them a happy time in Wales, a safe return journey to their beautiful country, and I conclude these hasty comments with expression of the fervent hope that the day is not far distant when England and France, as two of the leading nations of the world, will once more step side by side in the front rank of the world's progress.
WEEKLY MAIL, 10 MARCH, 1900
FRENCH FOOTBALLERS’ VISIT TO WALES
M. Mathieu, general secretary of the Stade Francais Football Club, in a letter to Mr. J. Livingstone, Swansea, since the return of the team from their Welsh tour says:
“We had been well received in Scotland and Ireland, those other grand Celtic nations of Great Britain, during our preceding trips, but that which specially struck my comrades at Swansea was the exceedingly warm reception received by them from his worship the mayor and so many leading gentlemen of the town, together with a host of football friends, and there was absolutely nothing to break the harmony of the proceedings during the whole of their stay. These splendid tokens of international friendship are a splendid encouragement to the Stade Francais team, the members of which are very proud of having had the honour of playing against the champion team of Great Britain, to whom they owe gratitude for having given them the opportunity. We shall follow with the greatest interest the continued success of your magnificent team, so well captained and managed as it undoubtedly is and which is bound for a very long time to occupy the first place in the football world."
There were further games between the two clubs and her are the newspaper references to the matches played in 1904, 1905, 1909 and 1914:
THE CAMBRIAN, 19 FEBRUARY, 1904
After the match (against Cardiff) the Swansea players left for London, and stayed the night at the Tavistock Hotel. On Sunday morning they crossed the Channel to Boulogne, and thence to Paris by train, reaching their destination at 6 o'clock. Monday was spent on seeing the sights of the City, and on Tuesday they met the Stade Francais Club at Chantilly. The latter were reinforced for the occasion, by all the leading players in France, and the fixture attracted a Iarge attendance, the fame of the All Whites having preceded them. Six thousand spectators were present to see Swansea play the pick of France and the game was a particularly fine one to watch. The French forwards made a good fight of it for the first, twenty minutes, but then fell away, and once the Swansea backs got the ball their opponents were quite nonplussed. Arnold scored two tries, Jowett, Rees, and Owen one, and in the end the All Whites won by 3 goals 2 tries, to love. The Swansea players left for home on Wednesday morning, they reached High Street Station at midnight, and thoroughly enjoyed their Paris trip. Next season the Stade Francais will play a return match at St. Helen's.
EVENING EXPRESS, 20 FEBRUARY, 1904
Swansea Team's Visit to Paris
“Le Matin," commenting on the Swansea v. Paris match, says: -
At last we have had the pleasure of seeing a first-class English, or, rather, Welsh, team, and the lesson which our players have been taught has been one of the best.
The Welsh team light, but very fast, has shown us a game in no way similar to our own, and certainly very much better.
As I hinted in yesterday's issue, the play is for one line only, but a line whose formation is new to us, i.e., the three-quarters. The halves taking the ball from the scrum, immediately passed to the three-quarters, whom they joined, and this line of six men, strengthened by the forwards, would get the ball from from one end of the field to the other, beating the French defence in a remarkably accurate manner, and thus it was during the whole game.
The ball was passed from one of the all unites to the other, never touching the ground, and it seemed that the Welsh players were the only ones able to get hold of it. One might not believe that our players did not play well. They tried very hard, but had to play against a vastly superior team. After the game I had the pleasure of a few words with Mr. Livingstone, mayor (sic) of Swansea, who expressed his admiration at the progress the French had made in the last four years. With a few more lessons of this kind we shall be able to send into the field a team fit to compete with the best."
EVENING EXPRESS, 1 APRIL, 1905
Swansea v Stade Francais
The weather was beautifully fine for the Swansea v. France match at St. Helen's. It was the finest and warmest afternoon of the year so far. The French team arrived on Friday evening. Their appearance on the field was signalised by hearty applause. They wore stockings of brilliant red.
Swansea: Back, J. Bancroft; three-quarter backs, G. Davies, Jim Davies, D. Rees, and F. Jowett; half-backs, R. M. Owen and L. Jenkins; forwards, W. Parker, F. Scrine, W. Joseph, D. J. Thomas, D. Davies (Mumbles), D. Davies (Port Tennant) H. Hunt, Jim Davies, and W. Cole.
Stade Francais: Back, Creighton (Havre Football Club); three-quarter backs. Marescal, Denance (Sporting Club Universitaire de France), Louis (Havre), and Pugol (Toulouse); half-backs, Meyer (Havre) and Ribo (Sporting Club Universitaire de France); forwards, Jerome (native of French Guiana), Verges (native of French Guiana), Gaillot (Stade Francais), C. Beaurin (Stade Francais), Bronlat (Stade Bordelais), Poirrier (Stade Francais), Gautier (Stade Francais), and Cuillier (captain of the Toulouse Football Club). Jerome, Verges, and Gaillot are coloured men.
France kicked off from the town end at 3.45, and Joseph replying, the visitors were unable to hold, but Jerome got the ball passed to him, and gained applause for a smart kick. The Swansea three-quarters started passing at once, and carried the ball over the half- way line. Then it came out again, but Marescal beat Jowett for possession, and kicked down the field.
A fine Swansea forward rush followed, and the French backs were applauded for the way they picked up and tried to stop their progress. The game, however, had not been in progress three minutes when Scrines picked up, and ran over easily behind the posts. George Davies converted. On re-starting the French backs started a fine bout of passing, and Denance cleverly got away.
The visitors again received applause for some strong bits of play, but their defence was poor, and in a few minutes Swansea's passing started. This took play right in front of a whole bunch of Frenchmen, and J. Davies scored another try for Swansea. George Davies failed to convert. After this Ribo and others brought off a smart rush, and Dan Rees had to chase the ball into the Swansea 25 before replying, but it was back in the French 25 a minute later. Lewis Jenkins brought off a splendid corkscrew run right among the French backs, and afterwards Dan Rees ran over finely, but in touching down the ball rolled into touch in goal.
A round of passing followed, but, apparently, Swansea were not over serious, and again a minor resulted. After some further passing J. Davies got the ball from George Davies and scored. The place kick again failed. Owen then made a fine opening, and, passing from the touch-line into the open, gave to Parker, who passed to Hunt, who scored. George Davies goaled, and Swansea were 2 goals 2 tries ahead. Dan Rees was tackled in the Swansea half after this, and from this time to the end of the first half, a period of two minutes, the Frenchmen attacked.
The French left wing, Pugol, brought off a pretty kick. The Swansea defence was equal to any emergency, and the whistle blew without any further scoring.
Half-time score: G. T. Pts.
Swansea 2 2 16
France 0 0 0
The opening of the second half was very tame, and Swansea did not seem inclined to exert themselves. After desultory play in the centre Dan Rees got a pass, and broke away to the left, giving Jim Davies a chance to score his third try. George Davies goaled.
Play was fast and loose for the next ten minutes, but Swansea were evidently not in a scoring mood, while the Frenchmen often secured applause and good humoured laughter by their activity in spoiling Swansea's tricks. They at last, rushed away to the Swansea 25, and at one time, if they had been able to pick up they might have scored. At last, they really brought it off. Scrines and another forward had been handling the ball in the centre and threw it away, and the Frenchmen got it. Pugol picked it up and scored after a long run. He was loudly applauded, and the crowd appeared generally pleased at their efforts. Beaurin failed to convert. A fire round of passing took place between the Swansea backs, and George Davies scored a try in the corner, which he converted.
Before the end the Frenchmen got away again and, suddenly, George Davies got the ball and ran the whole length of the field, chased by two or three of the French backs, and scored a brilliant try. This again was converted. The whistle then blew.
Final score: G. T. Pts.
Swansea 5 2 31
Stade Francais 0 1 3
EVENING EXPRESS, 1 APRIL, 1905
"ALL WHITES" ENTERTAIN THE STADE FRANCAIS
Swansea today contested an international match with the Stade Francais, a team of French players who have made considerable progress in the handling code during the last few years. The Welsh champions have on two occasions played this team at Paris, and to-day the visitors were given a hearty welcome to Welsh soil. Followers of the game are looking forward to the time when France will be able to place a team in the field that will be able to not only compete successfully with the best of our clubs, but a thoroughly representative national fifteen.
EVENING EXPRESS – 19 MARCH, 1909
Swansea Team in Paris
Swansea today played the Stade Francais on the Parc des Princes ground. There was an attendance of 6,000, in spite of rain, which fell heavily during the whole of the game.
The Stade kicked off at ten minutes past four. The Frenchmen were the first to attack, and worked their way to the visitors' 25. Four minutes from the start Galechon scored for the Stade, and Beaurain converted. The game became very fast. Swansea, settling down, brought off some effective bouts of passing, but the French defence continually broke them up. Both 25's were invaded in turn, until Morgan, receiving the ball, ran right through and scored a try, which was not converted. Two or three minutes later Lewis scored, and after another brilliant piece of work Toft passing to Hunt, and Hunt to Morgan, the last-named scored the third try, which Bancroft converted. This brought the score to eleven points in favour of Swansea to the Stade's five points.
Nothing further was scored in the first half. On resumption the Frenchmen were once more first away, and Lane scored a try for them in a difficult position. The kick failed. A few minutes after this Stade was awarded a free kick, from which Maclos scored a goal, making the score eleven all. Excitement was intense and enthusiastic applause cheered the players on either side. The ground was now very slippery, and the ball was difficult to handle.
Toft got across for Swansea, and Bancroft converted. Shortly after Toft was injured, and had to retire. He was soon able to resume his place, however. From a free kick Bancroft scored, and the Welshmen now had things all their own way Toft scored yet another try, Bancroft obtaining the major points, and Hayward also got over, the kick this time failing. This was the last score, and no side was called, leaving Swansea victorious by 27 points to eleven.
The Swansea team was as follows: Back, Jack Bancroft; three quarter backs, W. J. Trew, H. Toft, Phil Hopkins, and Bryn Lewis; half-backs, R. M. Owen and Dick Jones; forwards, Ivor Morgan, George Hayward, D. J. Thomas, Edgar Morgan, H. Hunt, Dai Davies, Ike Williams, Ben Davies, Dai Griffiths, and H. Hiams.
THE CAMBRIA DAILY LEADER, 17 FEBRUARY, 1914
TRIP OF THE SEASON
SWANSEA RUGBY TEAM'S MATCH IN PARIS
TEAM TO MEET NEATH AND STADE FRANCAIS
This is going to be an eventful week for the All Whites. On Saturday they will be at home for the first time this month, their opponents being Neath. They leave the same evening en route for Paris. Mr. Perkins told “Pendragon" this morning that the journey would be made by the 8.55 train to London, where the night would be spent. On Sunday morning the party are due to leave Charing Cross Station at ten o'clock. They will arrive in Paris about six. Monday will be devoted to sight- seeing. The match with Stade Francais on Shrove Tuesday is arousing a lot of interest in Paris, where Swansea are regarded as being the finest Rugby playing side in the world. The party will make the return journey on Wednesday, being due at High-street about 10.40 p.m.
The Swansea team to play against Neath on Saturday and Stade Francais on Tuesday will be selected from the following: Back. J. Bancroft; three-quarters, Bryn Lewis, Alf Thomas, Dai Williams, and Howell Lewis; half-backs. J. Rapsey and B Beynon; forwards (from), D. J. Thomas. Edgar Morgan, Tom Williams. Tom Parker, Tom Morgan, Harry Moulton, Geo. Evans. E. Hollingdale, Phil Evans, and D. Huxtable. The kick-off against Neath will be at 3.30. It, is understood that a Frenchman will I referee the Stade Francais v Swansea match
The Cambria Daily Leader, 24 February, 1914
THE CAMBRIA DAILY LEADER, 25 FEBRUARY, 1914
ALL WHITES' GREAT RECEPTION IN PARIS
HOW RESULT WAS RECEIVED AT SWANSEA
Final Score – SWANSEA 4 tries (12pts) STADE FRANCAIS 1 con goal (5pts)
A remarkable feat by Reuter's Paris correspondent enabled the "Leader" to 'be easily first out with the half-time and final scores of yesterday's match between Stade Francais and Swansea. More than this, the Leader also gave the scorers in the first half at 4.45, while in the 6.30 edition details of the first half were given.
IMPROVEMENT OF FRANCE
The result of the match serves to emphasise what has often been contended that French football has greatly improved. It was a great achievement for Stade Francais to run the famous All Whites so closely, for this team is not regarded as the I strongest among French clubs, though it was the pioneer so far as Continental Rugby.
EIGHT THOUSAND SPECTATORS
There were eight thousand spectators present, the occasion partaking of the nature of a public holiday. The All Whites had an enthusiastic reception. They are probably the most popular touring side in the world, and the Frenchmen recognise how much they have contributed to the development of French Rugby. Everybody who saw the match agreed as to the improved tactics of Stade Francais.
It will he counted remarkable that the Swansea team held no advantage in weight. The Frenchmen hid big backs, but in spite of their bulk in the scrummage they were outplayed by the dashing Swansea eight.
SPEEDIER THAN SWANSEA
France has produced many speedy backs. Pace, indeed, is about the strongest feature of their game. The Stade Francais backs were faster than Swansea's, which accounted for the failure of the All Whites to turn much of their combination to account. Swansea scored two tries in the first half, and two in the second, the scorers being Alf Thomas, Howell Lewis, Tom Parker, and Thomas.
Other matches played by Stade Francais against Welsh opposition in the same period were:
03.04.1905 Cardiff 44, Stade Francais 8
27.02.1906 Stade Francais 5, Cardiff 30
02.11.1908 Stade Francais 8, DL Evans Cardiff XV 11
27.02.1906 Stade Francais 6, Treherbert 3
07.03.1907 Stade Francais 5, Glamorgan 36
26.03.1908 Stade Francais 6, Monmouthshire 13
08.02.1910 Stade Francais 3, Newport 15
23.03.1911 Stade Francais 3, Neath 11