Hi Ben, thank you for agreeing to talk today. So firstly, tell me about Clwb Rygbi Tawe.
Clwb Rygbi Tawe is a relatively new club at Swansea University, founded in 2015, and offers an opportunity for students to play rugby through the medium of Welsh. The club was set up by a small handful of students, most of whom have graduated now, and others continuing with studies or careers within Swansea University. These include the now president of the club, Steffan Roberts, and the current Swansea University Students Union President, Gwyn Rennolf.
What are the aims of the club?
Beginning as a small club, Clwb Rygbi Tawe has grown more each year, with more students wanting to continue using the Welsh language after leaving school and beginning university. Not only has the club increased it’s Welsh-speaking members, many non-speaking Welsh students have also joined the club, not only to learn Welsh but because Clwb Rygbi Tawe offers a less competitive selection alternative to that of the Men’s Rugby Union club – perfect for those looking to play more socially than competitively. Although the club offers more social rugby, Clwb Rygbi Tawe achieved Sports Swansea status in 2016/17, gaining recognition for the club’s growth.
What does a week look like for a member of Clwb Rygbi Tawe?
The club trains once a week on a Wednesday afternoon and organises regular socials throughout the year, allowing for the members to develop close relationships with everyone and boasting the excellent social aspect that Clwb Rygbi Tawe holds. Socials are regularly held in the venue of the club’s main sponsor, Siop Ty Tawe. Along with holding socials with other clubs, frequent socials and events are organised with the University’s Welsh society, Gym Gym Abertawe. This includes last year’s charity netball match which helped raise almost £100 for the chosen charities.
How do you differ from the Men’s Rugby Union club?
Clwb Rybgi Tawe prides itself on the close relationships that everyone has within the club and the fact that the club is extremely inclusive. We do not actively pursue only experienced players, we also allow for members to join who have never played rugby before and would like to learn a new sport. Over the years we have welcomed many overseas students who have come to Swansea to study and would like to try out one of the most popular sports in Wales. Every active member in the club that trains and participates is given the chance to play in matches, those being either competitive matches or charitable events such as summer touch and 7’s tournaments. The club was created not to find the best possible squad in the university but to allow for students of all ages, nationalities and skill to play rugby and enjoy what we offer as a club. We have seen many overseas students join Clwb Rygbi Tawe upon starting their studies before meeting any new friends, and they have actively become involved and now feel far more comfortable in Swansea University. Situations like these are what we at Clwb Rygbi Tawe aim for, and we are extremely proud to be such an inclusive and welcoming club.
By Jessica Hayden