Sunday promises to be a very special day for the South Wales Ironmen. That is when they will equal the record for the most number of matches played by a professional Rugby League club in South Wales.
The Merthyr-based Ironmen, rebranded from the Scorpions, will run out against London Skolars in the League 1 Cup at the weekend in what will be their 155th game as a club – the same number as played by Ebbw Vale when they played in the 13-man code between 1907-12 before returning to rugby union. The Ironmen will surpass the Steelmen’s record a week later when they host Oxford in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
Wales Rugby League chief executive Chris Thair said: “Congratulations to everyone that has been involved with the club, they should be very proud. This milestone shows Rugby League in Wales has never been upon more of a sustainable footing then it is now and it is one the sport should take great hope from.
“Phil Davies, founder of the Ironmen or South Wales Scorpions as they were originally known, brought a great deal of passion and energy to club in its formative years. His personal investment of time, energy and money into the sport was there because he wanted to see young Welsh players given an opportunity in the professional game. Thankfully that is a legacy that is still in place today and because it is a club professional packed full of Welsh talent, it is one that is very much strategically linked to ourselves as the governing body.
“There are lots of very good people involved with the Ironmen in 2017 and therefore I know they will have a strong and healthy future ahead, breaking more records I’m sure. Everyone should make a special effort to see them play to see them play this year and help celebrate their longevity.”
As a club the Ironmen have fielded 115 Welsh players over seven seasons from 2010-16 and out of those 38 were full Welsh internationals.
HIGHEST NUMBER OF PROFESSIONAL GAMES PLAYED BY ANY WELSH CLUB – TOP 5 BEFORE 2017
1. 182 by Celtic Crusaders (2006-11)
2. 155 by Ebbw Vale (1907-12)
3. 154 by South Wales Ironmen (prev. Scorpions) (2010-16)
4. 136 by Cardiff City (later Bridgend Blue Dragons) (1981-85)
5. 125 by North Wales Crusaders (2012-16)