Following months of nominations and careful deliberations, the five inductees into the 2016 Neath Rugby Supporters Club have been chosen.
The five Neath greats will be inducted into the hall at a special celebration evening on Friday 20th May.
The chosen five are (in no particular order):
Full back Paul Thorburn was an integral part of the Neath team during the club’s golden era. A strong runner and world-class goal kicker, Throburn played in three consecutive cup finals and was a member of two league winning squads.
He won 37 caps for Wales, scoring a then record 304 points. He landed a number of memorable kicks for Wales, not least a last minute conversion to secure third place in the inagural World Cup and the monster 64 metre penalty against Scotland in 1986 – still the world’s longest penalty goal.
Allan Bateman joined Neath in 1989 and formed a potent midfield partnership with Colin Laity. Famed for his clamp-like tackling and silky skills, Bateman played in the 1989 and 1990 cup winning teams. He ‘went north’ in 1990 before retuning to Rugby Union in 1996 and returned to the Gnoll in 2001. He won 35 caps for Wales and one for the Lions.
Jeremy Pugh was an important member of the the Neath team during the golden era of the 1980/90s. The popular tight head prop played in cup and league winning teams and featured in the memorable 1989 match against New Zealand. He made his debut for Wales against USA in 1987, but surprisingly only won three caps. Jeremy joins front row colleagues Brian Williams and Kevin Phillips in the NRSC Hall of Fame.
Prop forward Glyn Shaw was a mainstay of the Neath pack during the 1970s. Equally at home on both the loose head and tight head of the scrum, Shaw went on to win 12 caps for Wales between 1972 and 1977. He later went to Rugby League, playing for Widnes and Wigan and appearing in several Challenge Cup finals.
Legendary prop forward Courtenay Meredith was the cornerstone of the formidable Neath pack of the 1950s. His prowess was duly recognised with 14 caps for Wales. He was called up for the 1955 Lions tour to South Africa, making 14 appearances, including four test matches. He formed an all Welsh front row alongside Billy Williams and Bryn Meredith – a feat that wasn’t repeated until 2009.
These five players will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Friday 20th May, where they will be awarded with their commemorative caps.
Tickets for the evening will be on sale at Neath’s remaining home games this season. Tickets cost £5 for supporters club members and £8 for non-members.