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Frank Hancock was a disciple of the running and handling game that Cardiff and Wales became renowned for over generations.
The Somerset county player joined Cardiff in 1883-84, and quickly established himself as a quite brilliant three-quarter and outstanding leader. He is perhaps best known, though, as being the sport’s first fourth three-quarter, a change in formation, where an extra back was fielded, which lasts to this day. The Cardiff model was adopted by Wales in 1885 and later by other teams.
Within two months of his two-try debut for Cardiff against Cheltenham College, Hancock made his test debut in Wales’ first victory at home – against Ireland, on 12 April, 1884. He captained his country in his fourth and final test against Scotland, on 9 January, 1886.
Hancock was elected Cardiff captain for the 1885-86 season, when the fourth three-quarter system was further developed and perfected. Cardiff went through the season unbeaten until the final game against Moseley was lost.