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.
As the countdown continues for RWC2015, Tournament Chief Executive Debbie Jevans visited the Millennium Stadium to discuss preparations for the eight matches and reveal the positive news that 100,000 tickets for games at the home of Welsh rugby have sold in the last seven days.
Jason Harries is targeting a first win on the World Series circuit this season with Wales. The series returns to action this weekend in Dubai where Harries is part of a team hoping to build from its efforts in round one in October.
Wales skipper Jevon Groves says his side have addressed a few points from Gold Coast and aim to 'hit the ground running' in the next two rounds of the World Series, kicking off with this weekend in Dubai before heading off to South Africa next week.
Wales Sevens manager Steff Thomas is hopeful his side can build from a quarter-final spot in the opening round of the World Series in Australia when his side take part in the forthcoming double header in Dubai and South Africa.