Dennis Gethin OBE, MA, LLM (Cantab)

President of the Welsh Rugby Union

Born 24 May 1944. One of seven children raised in the small mining village of Seven Sisters near Neath in the Dulais Valley of South Wales, Dennis’s father and eldest brother were both coalminers working underground. All the family were Welsh speaking.

At Neath Grammar School, where he became Head Prefect, he was encouraged to pursue his twin passions of history and rugby and won a place at Selwyn College, Cambridge where he continued to do both. Recognising that Law might offer a more promising career path than history, he switched track and graduated after four years, achieving both a Master of Arts Degree, and a Master of Laws Degree.

After leaving college in 1967 Dennis went on to train as a solicitor and qualified in 1971. Following a brief period in private practice he joined Glamorgan County Council as their assistant solicitor and remained there for 2 years before moving to Taff Ely Borough Council where he became the Council’s Chief Executive.

1998 saw another career move when, having left local government, he took up sports administration, becoming Secretary of the Welsh Rugby Union; a post he held for 5 years until 2003. After retirement from the WRU he joined the BBC Broadcasting Council in Wales and was a member from 2004-2009.

In 2007 Dennis was elected President of the Welsh Rugby Union, an office he continues to hold. In addition he is also
• President Wales Deaf Rugby
• Chairman Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust, a charity dedicated to providing help and support to severely injured rugby players.
• Patron Glamorgan County Rugby
• Life member of Welsh Academicals RFC and Seven Sisters RFC
• President Cor Meibion Pontypridd
• Vice President Cor Meibion De Cymru

Honorary Awards
In 2009 Dennis was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal by the University of South Wales for his services to rugby, and in 2014 he was made an Honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Swansea in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Welsh cultural life.

Rugby Career
Rugby has always played a major part in Dennis’s life. He became a Welsh Secondary Schools International in 1963, obtained two Rugby Blues at Cambridge (1965 & 1966), played fullback for his home village of Seven Sisters before playing for Swansea, Neath, Cardiff (1966-1971), and finally Glamorgan Wanderers. In 1971 he gave up playing first class rugby to concentrate on his legal career.

Whilst playing for Cambridge he played against the 1963 New Zealand All Blacks and the 1966 Australian Wallabies. During his playing career with Cardiff he became their record points scorer and played against the South African Springboks in 1969.

Presidents of the Welsh Rugby Union