Swansea Set To Stage The First Of Two Welsh Heineken Cup Finals
18 April 2002 09:49am
In the same week as Llanelli prepare to fly the flag for Welsh rugby in the Heineken Cup semi-final against Leicester, hoping to reach the final at the Millennium Stadium on 25 May, local side Swansea University will tackle the pre-tournament favourites, University of Pau, in the students final.
Swansea will be battling to become the first Welsh university to lift the coveted student title. Adding extra spice to the occasion will be the fact that Swansea is twinned with the Pau.
The French side beat Scottish champions Stirling and 2001 BUSA Champions Exeter on their way to the final as they topped Pool 2. Swansea came out on top of Pool 1, which figured the 1999 European champions, University College, Cork, and the Italian champions Rome University.
It will be the second time the final has been staged in Wales. A Nathan Budgett inspired UWIC gave a Toulouse University side featuring current French Grand Slam wing Xavier Garbajosa a real run for their money at Cardiff Arms Park in 1998.
That game set the standard for the tournament, which has grown since then as UC Cork, in 1999, Pau in 2000 and Toulouse again last year took the title.
Swansea University are hoping to have some of their famous alumni in the stand at St Helen's to urge them on - Dafydd James, Andrew Lewis, Stephen Jones, Paul Thorburn, Mark Wyatt and Rob Howley.
Tickets for the final are available from Swansea Rugby Club and the Athletic Union at Swansea University. Entry to the ground is Â£2.
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.