BLACKWOOD 8, PONTYPRIDD 24
Pontypridd were forced to stage a major second half revival to reach the
quarter-finals of the Principality Cup at the expense of a highly motivated
and competent Blackwood side.
The First Division outfit had first use of the strong wind and driving snow
showers and didn't waste any time in providing a warm-welcome to Glan-yr-
Afan Park for the PARKER PEN SHIELD semi-finalists.
A high cross-field kick by outside half Martin Jones may have looked pretty
innocuous from the stand, but it put Gareth Jones and Brett Davey under
pressure in the Ponty 22 and when Jonjes failed to clear home full back Dean Brown pounced for a try after only seven minutes.
Blackwood's Samoan import Jagger To'o caused mayhem every time he had the
ball and the Premiership side were guilty of turning over the ball in the
frnatic opening exchanges.
A drive from a line out won by Ponty lock Brett Cockbain forced the Blackwood pack to give away a penalty and Brett Davey stepped up to steady the visitors' nerves with a 17th minute penalty.
No 8 Jamie Sims pulled off a try saving tackle when Gareth Jones got away on
a 45 metre run, but the only other score of the first-half came from the
Left wing Darren Starr launched a kick and chase raid that put Ponty on the
back foot and when they went offside 35 metres out, Jones hit the left upright with his penalty.
Jones then pushed a drop goal wide of the mark, but was on target when the
Ponty scrum came under pressure and the visitors were forced to concede a
penalty close to their posts.
Ponty were grateful to have the elements in their favour in the second
half and rung the changes as the game progressed, bringing on Paul John,
Nicky Little, Michael Owen and Mefin Davies .
A second Davey penalty five minutes after the break reduced the gap to
two points and Ponty went ahead for the first time after 49 mintues.
They looked to have messed up a try scoring chance, but scrum half Gareth
Baber put in a raking kick to the left and England Sevens wing Nigel Simpson was first to the ball for the try. Davey hit the left upright with his conversion attempt.
Davey kicked his third penalty after 57 minutes, when the Blackwood scrum half Owen Jones was penalised for a dummy pass from the base of the scrum, and at the other end Jones was wide from 44 metres.
Then, with six minutes to go, Ponty sealed things when replacement centre
Jason Lewis gave a scoring pass to Gareth Jones who crossed in the corner
for Davey to convert.
Gareth Jones went close to getting a second try, but a foot in touch thwarted him. Davey had the final word, though, when Blackwood were penalised at a ruck 12 metres out and the full back made it 14 points for the day with a fourth penalty.
Scorers: Blackwood: Try: D Brown; Pen: M Jones. Pontypridd: Tries: N
Simpson, G Jones; Con: B Davey; Pens: B Davey 4.
Principality Stadium will host the UEFA Champions League Final in six weeks' time. WRU chairman Gareth Davies, Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford and Ambassador Ian Rush joined young sports fans at the trophy arrival at the venue to celebrate the magnitude of the event on Saturday 3rd June (kick-off 19.45).
British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton is looking forward to bringing together players from Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales for the biggest challenge of their careers - a series against world champions, New Zealand.
For the fifth year running, Wales referee Nigel Owens will be in charge of proceedings at Judgement Day V at Principality Stadium. It promises to be 'extra special' for the Wales' favourite ref, as he will be making his 150th appearance in the league.
There will be no shortage of inside knowledge from Bowl Finalists Caerphilly and Amman United when they face each other on Sunday at National Finals Day. Caerphilly hooker Rhys Cleverly knows the Principality Stadium pitch better than most as a matchday groundsman, while Amman United can look to Wales' record try scorer Shane Williams for some helpful advice.
Two hundred and 40 teams competed in the inaugural Urdd WRU 7s held at Pencoed last week with Welsh internationals Steff Andrews and Jasmine Joyce impressed with the talent on display, as was Urdd chief executive, Sioned Hughes.
The countdown is on for Judgement Day V as tickets for the big day at Principality Stadium soar through the 50,000 mark. Players and coaches alike are bursting at the seams to play in the double header with Dragons coach Kingsley Jones claiming there is a 'real buzz' about the event.
WRU TV went behind the scenes when the four regions got together to test their skill set for the BBC's Scrum V Live rugby show, at the WRU National Centre of Excellene in the build up to Judgement Day V. Blues' Matthew Morgan was one of the stars of the show while the Dragons' Cory Hill proved a surprise package...the full set of results will be revealed on tv screens on matchday
Wales assistant coach Richie Pugh is confident his side can cause a few headaches in the Hong Kong Sevens this weekend. In a tough group, Wales kick off their campaign against New Zealand on Friday before playing Japan and Fiji, who are chasing their third consecutive Hong Kong title, on Saturday.
Bedwas had to overcome a stubborn Carmarthen Quins side before winning the Foster's Challenge Cup final in Bridgend with a 23-18 victory. Bedwas captain Nicky Griffiths pays tribute to his side who have claimed the club's first piece of silverware in the modern era.
Team coach Brett Davey is aiming to keep his unbeaten run in cup finals at Principality Stadium intact when his side take on Amman United in the WRU Bowl final, after he guided Caerphilly to a 20-14 win against Cilfynydd in the semi-finals.
Penallta are hoping to go one step further than last season when falling to Bedlinog in the WRU Plate Final. After a titanic struggle against Nant Conwy, they have given themselves a great chance, after a hard fought 18-13 semi-final victory.