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14 September 2017 / Club News

Focus on our Opponents – Tata Steel RFC

This weekend ‘The Village’ are back on the road as we travel to Port Talbot to face Tata Steel RFC.  This will be our first ever fixture versus the Saints and we will be looking to pick up our first win on the road and back to back wins following the victory against Skewen last weekend. 

Tata Steel RFC were formally known as Corus Saints Rugby Football Club.  While Corus have been replaced, the Saints remain as the nickname of the club in its current form.  The rugby club was founded back in 1908 and play their home team matches at Margam Sports and Social Club (SA13 2NF) where they share the facilities with the local Cricket, Bowls and Football sides.  Tata fall under the regional banner of the Ospreys and play in the WRU Championship. 

The club was historically known as The S.C.O.W, Steel Company of Wales, but changed its name to British Steel RFC in the late 1960s when the steel manufacture British Steel evolved from The SCOW. The name Tata Steel RFC was adopted following the demise of Corus and formally British Steel but locally, the team is still known as "The SCOW".

Although it could be considered as a "works side" traditionally most of its players have not worked within the industry but have been Margam and Port Talbot parishners.

Over the years there has been a mistaken belief that the steel industry itself have sponsored the team, though this is untrue. Since 1980, the club has been totally self-sufficient due to the work of the committee and sponsors.

Like many of other rugby clubs, during the earlier part of this Century, playing numbers started to dwindle and the Club successfully joined up with a local District side called St Josephs Old Boys RFC. This jump started the Club and they quickly moved up the leagues.

Since the formation of the professional era the club has lost its local player base but this is being effectively managed.

 

The Last Decade

Back in the mid 00’s Tata, or Corus as they were still known then, were playing in the old Division 1 West and back in the 2007-8 season were involved in a relegation battle.  The Saints fought off their opponents to finish the season in 9th position, just 4 points above the danger zone as Bridgend Athletic took the drop.  The following season was a little more comfortable for the Port Talbot side as in the 2008-09 season Corus finished in the safety of mid table with a 5th place finish on 52 points.  Although the following seasons points haul was only 7 points greater, the 2009-10 season saw the club rise to 3rd position as the rise up the table seemed to be gathering momentum.  Unfortunately, it was another 5th place finish in 2010-11, however the slide back down the table was only a minor blip.  In 2011-12 Tata Steel were crowned Division 1 West champions, securing promotion to the newly created WRU Championship, just 1 point above now fellow championship club Narberth.

In the inaugural Championship season Tata Steel finished in a respectable 4th position, their highest finish prior to last season.  In 2014-16 Tata recorded 9th and 8th positions respectively, before last season’s campaign brought a Championship high of 3rd position with an impressive haul of 70 points.  

 

References : http://tatasteelpt.rfc.wales/, www.wru.co.uk & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tata_Steel_RFC

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