Cardiff Blue Dragons Rugby League was formed as a merger between Cardiff Demons and Cardiff Spartans in 2015.
The original Cardiff Demons, not to be confused with the women’s side who were formed to play in the Women’s Super League South in 2021, started life in 1997 as a Rugby Football League academy side, following the abandonment of South Wales RLFC in their lone season the year before.
Ther played in the lower divisions of the Rugby League Academy competition against young players from professional outfits in the North of England, reaching the Grand Final of the Academy Division Two in their second season but lost to Hunslet Hawks.
They amalgamated with the UWIC University side in 1999 to play in the 1999-2000 Rugby League Challenge Cup. This was a great success with Cardiff beating Durham and Rochdale Mayfield to reach the third round losing to National League side Keighley Cougars.
Due to the success of this great cup run, in 2001, they joined the Central South Division of the Rugby League Conference. Playing at St. Peter’s RFC, a small club two miles north of the city centre, the Demons succeeded in finishing in a creditable third place. A notable success from the Demons’ inaugural season was the graduation of winger Jon Breakingbury on to the professional ranks when he signed for Sheffield Eagles. Their continued success inspired other clubs from around South Wales to form.
For the 2002 season the Demons moved to the well-appointed surroundings of Old Penarthians RFC in the seaside district of Penarth. Again competing in the Central South Division Cardiff defeated Worcester, Oxford Cavaliers and Gloucestershire Warriors home and away to secure the runners up spot. The season was also marked by a visit to the York Nines and an invitation to enter the Rugby League Challenge Cup, which resulted in a memorable trip to play Shaw Cross Sharks of Dewsbury.
2003 saw the Demons go from strength to strength, finishing top of the South West Conference with an excellent record of nine wins and only one defeat, their biggest wins being 90-0 and 100-8, both over local rivals Bristol Sonics. The former was an historic day for the city of Cardiff all round with local football side, Cardiff City beating Bristol City only two hours earlier. The Demons lost in the play-offs to Welsh side, Bridgend Blue Bulls, this match being featured on Sky Sports’ magazine programme, Boots N’ All.
2003 saw the departure of Aled James. He and Wes Palmer both represented Great Britain national rugby league team students on their tour down under, with Aled signing for Widnes Vikings at the conclusion of this tour. Although former Demons players had previously gone on to play Super League, this was the first time that a Super League club had signed a player directly from them benefiting the club financially in the short term.
In 2004, the Demons moved to Taffs Well, joined the Welsh Conference and won two trophies. First was the Welsh Shield after beating Newport Titans with a last minute try from the superb Gareth Jones, then beating Thorne Moor Marauders in National Shield despite a strong second-half comeback from the Yorkshiremen.
The Demons moved back to St Peters RFC after one home match of 2006 and went on to win the East Division and reach the Welsh Conference Grand Final, only to lose 22-10 to Bridgend Blue Bulls. In 2009 they relocated to St Albans RFC in Tremorfa but a promising season was ended by a playoff loss to Valley Cougars. Former Demons player Elliot Kear went on to appear regularly in the Super League for the Crusaders and the Bradford Bulls.
They club received a set-back after their juniors broke away and formed Cardiff Spartans, but eventually everyone saw sense and they merged back. The result was Cardiff City Blue Dragons RLFC (a resurrection of the name of the last professional RL side in Cardiff and kit colours) and they initially played home games at Cardiff Arms Park before moving to Glamorgan Wanderers. By 2019 the club was the largest RL club in Wales with sides at all age grades as well the first Women’s and Masters RL sides in Wales.