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.
Porthcawl recently received a WRU facilities grant and funding from Natwest RugbyForce in order to give their changing rooms a facelift. This came after receiving £10,000 in a WRU facilities grant last year to tarmac their car park. The improvements have already helped to make the club more accessible, not only for their own members and players but for the whole community.
The Welsh Rugby Union has launched a new, accredited Safeguarding and Protecting Children course - funded by the WRU and delivered in partnership with Sport Wales and the NSPCC - fo rugby club volunteers around Wales.
The SWALEC semi-final draws threw up some mouth-watering clashes in the Cup, Plate and Bowl as the 12 teams aim for the Millennium Stadium Finals Day. All the semi-finals are to be played on the weekend of April 12.
Welsh whistler Rhys Thomas continues to scale the heights of the game as he prepares to be an official in this weekend's Hong Kong Sevens tournament, undoubtedly the showpiece event on the World Series calendar.
Wales International Ian Evans and Wales and Lions legend Scott Quinnell swapped rugby balls for paint pots at Tonna during the RBS 6 Nations. They surprised club players with a special clubhouse makeover to launch NatWest RugbyForce 2014 - a programme developed in partnership with the WRU to make rugby clubs stronger businesses by improving and renovating their facilities with the support of volunteers and the local community.
Fresh from claiming the Bowl honours in Tokyo last Sunday, the Wales Sevens squad have settled into their routine as they prepare for this weekend's Hong Kong tournament where Iolo Evans is aiming high, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers.
The Welsh Rugby Union has recently teamed up with Prostate Cymru to help the charity launch its latest campaign to raise awareness of the disease. Members of the Wales squad helped produce a short video and promotional material for the campaign titled 'The Best Defence - is to know the FACTS'.