BONYMAEN GO HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH MAESTEG FOR PREMIERSHIP PLACE
16 May 2006 16:42pm
ASDA League Division 1 champions Bonymaen will get their chance to challenge for a place in the Principality Premiership next season when they meet Maesteg in the Premiership Play-Off at Aberavon's Talbot Athletic Ground on Saturday, 20 May (kick-off 2.30pm)....
At stake for the Swansea-based club is the chance to qualify for a place among the 14 Premiership sides next season if they win the game and meet the criteria laid down by the WRU for inclusion in the top-flight from 2006.
Bonymaen completed their Division 1 programme with a home win over Ystrad Rhondda on Saturday and won the title by a clear 9 points from second placed Whitland with Beddau a further two points behind and finished with 25 wins and two draws in 30 outings.
Maesteg, who themselves were Division 1 winners last season and who reached the semi-finals of the Konica Minolta Cup this season, just beat the automatic drop in the Premiership thanks to a superior try count to Carmarthen Quins (64-52). The Quins will join bottom of the table Pontypool in dropping into the ASDA League system next season.
The Play-Off between the Division 1 champions and the third from bottom team in the Premiership was always due to be played at a neutral venue. The winners will play in the Premiership next season, subject to meeting the necessary criteria, while the losers will play in Division 1 West next winter.
If the game ends in a draw then the rules of the Konica Minolta Cup will be enforced with the winner being the side which has scored the most tries or the most converted tries. If the teams are still tied, then 20 minutes of extra-time (10 minutes each way) will be played.
If the scores are still tied at the end of extra-time, then the winner shall be declared using the same formula as at the end of ordinary time or then by the toss of a coin.
Following a vigorous audit process, the WRU is satisfied that all sixteen Premiership clubs, along with Bonymaen if they are successful in next week's Play-off, will pass the required criteria for entry to the Principality Premiership next season, on condition that any remaining documentation or work that they have signed up to in order to pass the audit is completed within the agreed timescale.
WRU Chief Executive Steve Lewis said, "This has been a hugely important process. All the clubs involved have invested a great deal of time, effort and money into improving the standards of their facilities on and off the field. When the process began, at least 50% of the clubs would not have met the criteria but all the clubs have supplied everything that has been asked of them in recent weeks and months in order to meet the standards required of them."
Chris Clarke, Chairman of the Premier Clubs said, "The WRU and the Premiership clubs have worked hand in hand on the process of setting out and working to a set of criteria to raise the standard of the Principality Premiership both on and off the field and the clubs are in full support of the Union on this matter.
"The cooperation and understanding shown from both sides is a credit to both the clubs and the Union. We wish both teams the best of luck for Saturday's play-off."
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.