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.
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.