HAPPY St David’s Day!

The country of Wales has provided Saints with some all-time great players and club legends over the decades.

And wing flier Regan Grace's presence means that the Red Dragon still breathes fire in the town today – (Although that dragon could do with blasting a few flames across the pitch now!)

Grace carries on the flank tradition of compatriots Roy Mathias, Frank Wilson and Steve Llewellyn over the years.

So with today being the feast day of St David, the patron Saint on Wales, it is only right to reflect on the number of Welsh players who have graced the red vee (or broad red band) over the years.

Saints have mined a lucrative seam in South Wales over the years - and no Saints team during the best years of the 50s, 60s and 70s was ever short of a Welshman.

In commentary once Ray French remarked that “You had to speak Welsh to play in the Saints pack in the 60s.”

So in the footsteps of John Mantle, John Warlow, Mervyn Hicks, Kel Coslett, Graham Rees – Saints continued to scout there, bringing up Bobby Wanbon from Aberavon, Mel James from Swansea, and then into the 80s Roger Owen from New Dock Stars and Stuart Evans from Neath.

Unlike the later antipodean arrivals, many of those Welsh ‘imports’ settled in the town and are still here decades after they have hung up their boots.

Kel Coslett, for example, has been player, captain, coach and team manager and has been a permanent part of the fabric of the Saints since joining in 1962.

Although Saints missed out to Widnes on Jonathan Davies – a player of rare talent who would have been immense at Knowsley Road - they did bring another Jonathon – half back Griffiths.

After a bit of break since Scott Gibbs departed in 1996, it is pleasing to see gifted players are still coming north, albeit through a different route with Regan Grace establishing himself. And Morgan Knowles – although born in Cumbria –sings the anthem of his Rhondda born mother with pride.

Saints did not strike gold with all their recruits – but the plus ratio outweighs the negatives.

Just for fun, here’s a Saints Welsh-born XIII selection drawn from the last 70 years. There are plenty of good players who have been omitted so please feel free to submit your own XIII in the comments section.

1. Glyn Moses.

2. Steve Llewellyn.

3. Scott Gibbs.

4. Don Gullick.

5. Roy Mathias.

6. Jonathan Griffiths.

7. Bob Prosser.

8. John Mantle.

9. Reg Blakemore.

10. Mel James

11. George Parsons.

12. John Warlow.

13. Kel Coslett.

Subs: Frank Wilson, Ray Cale, Graham Rees and Bobby Wanbon.