Rugby Codebreakers statue wins Sporting Heritage Award


A statue honouring Cardiff's legendary ‘Rugby Codebreakers' - has won the ‘Celebrating Black Sporting Heritage Award' category at the Sporting Heritage Awards.

Unveiled in Cardiff Bay in July last year, the statue of Billy Boston, Clive Sullivan and Gus Risman is the first in Wales ever to feature non-fictionalised, named black men.

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The Rugby Codebreakers statue.

The project was inspired by calls from the Butetown and wider Cardiff Bay communities for a fitting tribute to the players, who all grew up close to where their statue now stands, before leaving their hometown and going on to achieve sporting stardom.

Chairman of the Cardiff Bay Rugby Codebreakers committee, businessman, and philanthropist Sir Stanley Thomas OBE spearheaded the fundraising effort for the statue with a generous personal contribution.

He expressed his joy at the news of the award, stating, "I'm thrilled that after just two years of campaigning and fundraising within the committee, we could unveil such a magnificent piece that pays tribute to these incredible sporting icons in their beloved city of Cardiff.

"Hearing about the project's recognition at the Sporting Heritage Awards, especially in the Celebrating Black Sporting Heritage category, is fantastic.

"This initiative, which honours the outstanding achievements of Billy, Clive, and Gus, three of the greatest rugby league players in the history of the game, ensures that their legacy and the story of the vibrant, multicultural community that nurtured them will always be remembered."

Fellow Rugby Codebreakers committee member andChair of the Heritage and Cultural Exchange, Gaynor Legall, said:"It's heartening to witness the recognition of the statue and of these players' remarkable accomplishments, especially as someone who grew up in the same community.The installation of the statue meant a lot to us, something that looked like us and was about us and our story; that shared the pride that we had in those individuals with the rest of Wales. Having statues that celebrate their achievements, is not just for the people of Tiger Bay but for Wales."

Leader of Cardiff Council and Vice chair of the Cardiff Bay Rugby Codebreakers committee, Cllr Huw Thomas, was particularly pleased that the statue had been recognised in the ‘Celebrating Black Sporting Heritage' category, saying: "These players accomplishments had been undervalued for far too long. They brought pride to themselves, their families, the sport, and the multicultural communities in Cardiff which they grew up in and they deserved to be celebrated in their own hometown.

"The statue will act as a source of inspiration for generations to come and I'm delighted that its contribution to celebrating black sporting heritage has been recognised with this award."

Dr Justine Reilly, Managing Director of Sporting Heritage said: "We're thrilled to see Cardiff Bay Rugby Codebreakers presented with the Celebrating Black Sporting Heritage award.

"This achievement not only highlights their remarkable accomplishments but also their lasting influence on the narrative and legacy of sports history. The statue serves as a powerful symbol of their resilience, courage, and contribution to shaping the landscape of rugby and beyond."