thought of by many as the founder of Welsh rugby. He organised the first Welsh
rugby side that played
on 19th February 1881 and was instrumental in the creation of the Welsh Football Union, which became
the Welsh Rugby Union in 1934.
was born on 3rd May 1851 in
, the son of Henry
Mullock and Henrietta Oliver. The family owned a printing company based on
and published the local paper, The Newport Advertiser.
Mullock married Emily (née
Phillips), in March 1874 and had six children.
He had a history of connections with sports clubs around
and in 1874 became the secretary of the Newport Athletic Club. In 1879 the
South Wales Football Club, which represented the interests of Welsh rugby union,
attempted to organise a group of matches between a South Wales team and clubs
representing Blackheath F.C., West of
and the South of
Ireland. Mullock, wishing to improve the profile of his
club, secured a match against Blackheath before the S.W.F.C. could finalise any
arrangements, stealing their fixture.
and West of Scotland lost interest in a match with either organisation, while a
team from South of Ireland played a match against
on 18 November 1879, a day before the match with the S.W.F.U. By 1880 the
S.W.F.U. was losing face as a governing body, with teams pulling out of matches
after embarrassing fixture clashes and a lack of firm commitments
first international played by
was a disaster. After bad weather had called of all the trials and attempts to
stage the match the RFU insisted that the match be played on the 19th
February 1881, the day
played Llanelly in the South Wales Cup semi-final, thus depriving
of several players.
Only 800 spectators attended the
match huddled 3 deep around a field that wasn’t roped off. The Welsh side were
two players short and persuaded two spectators to play. The team was moved
around to accommodate them. Lewis, a half-back, and Mann, a forward, were
injured after ten minutes and eventually had to go off. As there were no
substitutes allowed at the time and
had to play with 13 men. When full-time was called
had lost by eight goals and five tries to nothing, 81-0 in modern day terms.
Welsh Rugby Football Union was formed on 12th March 1881 at the
Castle Hotel, Neath.
Western Mail 15th March 1881
the WRU's early years Mullock had met some of its expenses from his own pocket,
by 1890 he was rumoured to be guilty of financial impropriety, and the following
year he was forced to relinquish the treasurership. He remained as honorary
secretary, but only for one more year: at the WRU's annual general meeting on 10
September 1892 he was awarded a testimonial of 100 guineas and the decision was
taken to appoint a paid secretary. So
he was forced to retire, with Welsh rugby on the verge of international success,
about to win its first Triple Crown.
April 1893 he was declared a bankrupt but continued the family printing
business. In 1902, Mullock was sued in court for £3 of goods. He pleaded that
the £1 a month he earned from selling drawings was insufficient to support his
wife, and their six children. He left the
area and disappeared from public view. Rumour had it he had emigrated that year
Mullock died in
, on 8th July 1920, after an operation for throat cancer. By then he was living
and working as a printer's clerk in Chiswick, in an elusive obscurity