Port Talbot born Regan Grace has joined a long list of Wales born players who have won the Rugby League Challenge Cup.

Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com – 17/07/2021 – Betfred Challenge Cup Final – St Helens’ Regan Grace celebrates after the game

The number of Welshmen who have played in the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final goes into the hundreds and there have been plenty of winners, going right back to the very first Challenge Cup Final in 1897 where Dai Fitzgerald and the great Wattie Davies helped Batley to a 10-3 win over St Helens.

Then in 1900, David Davies helped Swinton Lions to a 16-8 victory over Salford in that year’s final. He made history four years later after playing for Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup Final and is still the only man to appear in the final of both competitions. In 1910, he won his only rugby league cap and became the only player to turn out for Wales in football and rugby league, also becoming the first of many Wales Rugby League internationals to win a Challenge Cup Final medal.

In 1924, eight of Wigan’s 13 who won the Cup were Welsh, and all of them internationals – this is still a record (it could have been nine had Percy Coldrick not been injured). Jim Sullivan was part of that side, and over the next century, many more famous Welshmen got their hands on the trophy. They were codebreakers, rugby union converts. The new crop of WRL players, like Regan Grace, are primarily developed by WRL clubs in junior development systems.

Eleven years ago, Grace was winning his first rugby league trophy – that of the Wales Rugby League U13 Grand Final where his Neath Port Talbot Steelers side beat Bridgend Blue Bulls.

A year later, he was racing away for a try and being described as a “speedster” by reporter Ian Golden as the Steelers U14s beat Bridgend once again to win another Welsh Grand Final.

Now, after going through both the WRL and St Helens junior systems, the 24-year old has tasted glory at Wembley as the first Welsh born player to lift the Cup since 2013, another World Cup year, where Ben Flower and Gil Dudson were winning with Wigan Warriors.

Here’s a list of Wales RL internationals who have won the Challenge Cup…
2021 St Helens – Regan Grace, Morgan Knowles
2013 Wigan – Ben Flower, Gil Dudson
2012 Warrington – Lee Briers, Garreth Carvell
2010 Warrington – Lee Briers, Garreth Carvell
2009 Warrington – Lee Briers
2008 St Helens – Keiron Cunningham
2007 St Helens – Keiron Cunningham
2006 St Helens – Keiron Cunningham
2005 Hull – Garreth Carvell
2004 St Helens – Keiron Cunningham, Keith Mason
2001 St Helens – Keiron Cunningham, Anthony Sullivan
1999 Leeds – Iestyn Harris, Anthony Farrell
1997 St Helens – Keiron Cunningham, Anthony Sullivan, Chris Morley
1996 St Helens – Keiron Cunningham, Anthony Sullivan, Scott Gibbs
1995 Wigan – Kelvin Skerrett, Martin Hall, Neil Cowie, Paul Atcheson
1994 Wigan – Kelvin Skerrett
1993 Wigan – Kelvin Skerrett
1992 Wigan – Kelvin Skerrett
1987 Halifax – Brian Juliff
1982 Hull – Clive Sullivan, Trevor Skerrett, Paul Prendiville
1981 Widnes – Eddie Cunningham, Glyn Shaw
1980 Hull KR – Clive Sullivan
1979 Widnes – Jim Mills, Glyn Shaw
1976 St Helens – Eddie Cunningham, Roy Mathias, John Mantle, Kel Coslett, Mel James
1975 Widnes – Jim Mills
1974 Warrington – John Bevan, Mike Nicholas, Bobby Wanbon
1972 St Helens – Frank Wilson, John Mantle, Kel Coslett
1971 Leigh – Stuart Ferguson
1966 St Helens – John Warlow, John Mantle
1965 Wigan – Billy Boston
1963 Wakefield – Don Vines
1961 Wigan – Billy Boston
1960 Wakefield – Don Vines
1959 Wigan – Billy Boston, Rees Thomas
1958 Wigan – Billy Boston, Rees Thomas
1957 Leeds – Lewis Jones, Bill Hopper
1956 St Helens – Glyn Moses, Steve Llewellyn, George Parsons
1954 Warrington – Ray Price
1953 Huddersfield – Billy Banks
1952 Workington – Gus Risman
1949 Bradford – Alan Edwards, Willie Davies, Frank Whitcombe, Trevor Foster, Dai Rees
1948 Wigan – Ted Ward
1947 Bradford – Emlyn Walters, Willie Davies, Frank Whitcombe, Trevor Foster, Hagan Evans
1945 Huddersfield – Alex Givvons
1944 Bradford – George Bennett, Emlyn Walters, Willie Davies, Frank Whitcombe, Trevor Foster
1943 Dewsbury – Alan Edwards, Reg Lloyd, Harry Royal
1942 Leeds – Alan Edwards, Gus Risman, Cliff Evans, Oliver Morris, Dai Jenkins, Dai Prosser
1941 Leeds – Cliff Evans, Oliver Morris, Dai Jenkins, Dai Prosser
1939 Halifax – Arthur Bassett
1938 Salford – Alan Edwards, Gus Risman, Billy Watkins, Billy Williams, Bert Day, Dai Davies, Harold Thomas
1936 Leeds – Dicky Ralph, Aubrey Casewell, Iorrie Isaacs
1934 Hunslet – Les White
1933 Huddersfield – Tommy Scourfield, Fred Talbot
1931 Halifax – Alf Higgs, Dai Rees
1929 Wigan – Jim Sullivan, Johnny Ring, Wilf Hodder, Frank Stephens
1928 Swinton – Frank Evans, Jack Evans, Billo Rees
1927 Oldham – Alf Higgs
1926 Swinton – Frank Evans, Jack Evans, Billo Rees
1925 Oldham – Evan Davies, Joe Corsi
1924 Wigan – Jim Sullivan, Johnny Ring, Tommy Howley, Tommy Parker, Sid Jerram, Danny Hurcombe, Fred Brown, Fred Roffey
1923 Leeds – Jim Bacon
1922 Rochdale – Joe Corsi, Dai Edwards
1920 Huddersfield – Johnny Rogers
1915 Huddersfield – Johnny Rogers, Ben Gronow
1913 Huddersfield – Jim Davies, Ben Gronow, Jack Chilcott
1911 Broughton – Ned Jones, George Ruddick
1910 Leeds – Frank Young
1907 Warrington – George Thomas, Frank Shugars
1905 Warrington – George Thomas, Frank Shugars
1900 Swinton – David Davies

* We realise that other Welsh born players have been Challenge Cup winners, the list above is of RL international players only. The first ever Challenge Cup Final, won by Batley in 1897 (below), contained two Welshmen – Wattie Davies and Dai Fitzgerald.

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