Varsity date

Welsh Varsity Returns 

The date for the 2023 Welsh Varsity between Cardiff and Swansea Universities has been confirmed.

Cardiff will host this year’s week-long festival of sport, with most fixtures and the showpiece rugby matches taking place on Wednesday 26 April.

The Welsh Varsity initially began as a rugby match between Cardiff and Swansea Universities at the Cardiff Arms Park in 1997 but has since grown year-on-year and is now the largest student multi-sport event in the UK.

Throughout the week-long festival of sport, students will compete in more than 30 different sports for the coveted Welsh Varsity Shield, including: Ultimate Frisbee; swimming; golf; fencing; squash; boxing; basketball and hockey.

The 2023 tournament will take place in venues across the city, including Sport Wales and Cardiff Arms Park. Swansea will be looking to secure the shield this year, after Cardiff reclaimed it in Swansea last year.

Jonathan Davies, Sports Officer at Swansea University Students’ Union, said: “After the long-awaited return of Varsity last year and with the event entering its’ quarter centenary; excitement for Varsity is building. This year, we have been fortunate to add Glamorgan Cricket’s famous ground – Sophia Gardens, to our list of esteemed locations alongside a return to the Cardiff Arms park for the Rugby events throughout the day.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone from our teams in Cardiff and Swansea Students’ Unions and our respective universities who have helped to facilitate this planning and running of this event. With over 800 athletes competing across Cardiff in some of the most famous sporting venues in Wales, it is clear why this is the pinnacle of Welsh student sport.

For such an occasion, I have no doubt that the Green and White Army will bring the noise, bring the atmosphere and bring the support for our competitors. This day will live long in your memory and when you look back on your time in Swansea, whether you are a competitor or a supporter, this day will be at the forefront of your minds. Take the pride of Swansea with you and bring the cup home!”

The Welsh Varsity is the second biggest Varsity event in the UK behind Oxford and Cambridge. A festival of sport, the tournament sees 48 fixtures across a range of sports compete for the coveted Welsh Varsity Shield. 

The official attendance for the festival of day sports in 2022 was 8,000 students with thousands attending the Men's and Women's rugby matches at The Liberty Stadium, Swansea. When in Swansea, the various sports took place at the Swansea Bay Sports Park with the event culminating with the showcase men's and the women's rugby matches being hosted at The Liberty Stadium.

A look at the past

The inaugural Welsh Varsity match was played in 1997 in the Welsh Capital and home of Cardiff Rugby Football Club, Cardiff Arms Park. The game was played by the two Welsh premier universities; Cardiff and Swansea and the highly successful “Varsity” model was adopted with all proceeds from the event going to Oxfam.

In the early years the Welsh Varsity match was held alternatively at Cardiff Arms Park and St Helens, the home of Swansea Rugby Club. Historically Swansea University enjoy the tag of perennial favourites at the Welsh Varsity Match winning to date; thirteen Varsities.

Swansea University have regularly enjoyed the ability to select from a vast pool of very talented players such as Welsh nationals Alun Wynn Jones, Ritchie Pugh and Dwayne Peel. 2007 saw Swansea field no less than 11 FIRA Internationals at varying ages resulting in a win at Cardiff Arms Park.


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