Paul John's Pontypridd battled past Cross Keys in Cardiff
Paul John praised the heart of his Pontypridd side as they retained the SWALEC Cup.
The men from Sardis Road overcame Cross Keys 21-8 in the Millennium Stadium showcase to keep their hopes of a second league and cup double in as many seasons alive.
Tries from Craig Locke and Gavin Dacey helped them to their third cup triumph in four seasons as they powered past the brave Gwent side.
Ponty had to recover from British and Irish Cup heartbreak last week as they were cruelly knocked out after extra time in the semi-finals on try-count. And Head Coach John praised the determination of his players.
"Heart won us that game more than anything," said John. "It turned into a battle, they're a very strong side, they're powerful up front with strong backs behind and we knew it was going to be a tough game.
"It was about heart, the boys dug deep. We played 120 minutes of rugby last week and we've played in between, and it's a massive credit to the boys who took the field and the whole squad.
"We've played 10 games over six weeks now and three of them have been massive British and Irish Cup games as well, so that victory is for the whole squad.It meant so much after all that's gone on throughout the year.
"We got on top as the game wore on, we got better at turning the ball over and competing as the game went on. We got wiser and made correct decisions, we turned the ball over when they were getting momentum.
"The contact area is always a massive area of any game and the laws are often transgressed but it's the heart, endeavour and attitude that was in abundance for us to win the game."
The last five years have been an emotional rollercoaster on and off the pitch for RGC1404. Promotion to the Principality Premiership was the culmination of five years of hard work and investment in North Wales. WRU TV caught up with prop Joe Simpson, who was one of the first intake of WRU North Wales Academy players in 2010.
Ebbw Vale captain Damien Hudd picked up the biggest accolade of the night at the 11th Principality Premiership Awards Evening held at Principality Stadium, after leading his side to the title for the first time.
Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde is predicting a tough battle against England on Sunday despite the fact they may not be considered to be at full strength. Players will be out to impress Eddie Jones which makes England a dangerous proposition, he says.
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