Swansea Set To Stage The First Of Two Welsh Heineken Cup Finals
18 April 2002 09:49
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.
Wales Head Coach Rob Howley talks to WRU TV's Sebastian Barrett about the 36-man squad he has just named for the forthcoming Under Armour series, which includes two uncapped players, Ospreys duo Sam Davies and Rory Thornton.
Head coach Rowland Phillips is deligthed he can now call BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park home for his Wales Women's side, who launch their international season next month with games against Scotland and UK Armed Forces in the heart of the capital city.
Wales Sevens star Sam Cross has put his home town club of Brynmawr on the map after winning a silver medal at the Rio Olympics with Team GB. His club have now honoured him by naming their players bar after him, as WRU TV discovered at the official launch, recently.
One of the newest members of the Principality Premiership, Bargoed admit it's proving to be a steep learning curve at the highest level, but are determined to become a force to be reckoned with. WRU TV visited the club last weekend when they took on Llanelli.
Table-topping Aberavon travel to north Wales to tackle RGC 1404 as both teams defend unbeaten starts to the season in the Principality Premiership. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie visited the Wizards to see how their preparations were going for the game of the weekend.
The Half a Game initiative is currently sweeping across Wales and proving a major success. The scheme aims to give every young player at least half a game every weekend. WRU TV recently visited a festival in Narberth where clubs have fully embraced the initiative.
Both Bargoed and Swansea were seeking their first win of the Principality Premiership season this afternoon. It proved a fruitful day for the hosts - not only did they win, but Bargoed claimed a try bonus point.
Cardiff managed to keep their unbeaten record at home intact, but only just as Bridgend made them work extremely hard before the Blue and Blacks secured a hard fought Principality Premiership win at the BT Sport Arms Park last night.
Former Wales back row Andy Powell gives a guided tour of The Wern, home of Merthyr RFC, who are determined to prove a lot of people wrong and make their mark in their first season in the Principality Premiership.