Cardiff crowned Principality Premiership champions
28 April 2009 21:00pm
By Graeme Gillespie
The Cardiff squad celebrate winning the Premiership title at the Arms Park.
Cardiff had to overturn a halftime deficit before subduing a stubborn Pontypridd side before being able to claim the Principality Premiership crown with a hard earned 27-22 victory at the Arms Park.
It looked like Cardiff's anticipated Premiership celebrations were going to be put on hold at the break with the Valley Commandoes fully deserving of their 17-7 advantage but the home side showed in the second half just why they are newly crowned champions.
Second half tries by Adam Powell and Chris Czekaj plus 10 points via the boot of outside half Gareth Davies were enough to see Cardiff secure their first title for nine years.
Ponty proved stern opposition for the home side and were eager to improve on their disappointing defeat to Bedwas last Saturday.
The Valley Commandoes were good value for their lead at halftime. Left wing Chris Clayton finished off two tries, the first from a well executed move and the second from an intercept. Full-back Kristian Baller converted both tries.
In between Ponty's touchdowns Cardiff's scrum half Andy Williams showed a clean pair of heals when he broke free from a ruck and sped down the blindside to score a well taken individual try. Gareth Davies chipped over the conversion but the visitors had the last say in the first spell when Baller put a penalty through the posts.
Cardiff reduced the arrears to just three points when No8 Adam Powell scored a converted try however just as it seemed the home side were getting back into the game, Ponty edged further ahead with a try to hard working flanker Rhys Lloyd to give the visitors a shock 22-14 lead.
Davies chipped away at the lead with a penalty before Welsh international winger Chris Czekaj crossed the whitewash. Davies's conversion put Cardiff in front for the first time of the match and he sealed a famous comeback victory with a well struck penalty to send the champagne corks popping.
WRU International Skills Coach Jason Strange is a busy man, combining the new role with that of Wales Under 20 attack coach, Ebbw Vale head coach and continuing to teach at Ebbw Fawr Learning Community.
Warren Gatland and Sam Warburton look ahead to this week's crunch RBS 6 Nations tie against France, where the Wales skipper in particular is keen to make his mark, as Paris has proved a bleak place for him in the past.
Following their historic win over England, Wales Under 20 suffered a narrow, 36-34 loss to their Scottish counterparts last weekend, despite outscoring them by five tries to three. Watch the match highlights and reaction.
WRU TV go behind the scenes with the Wales squad as they put the final touches in place ahead of the clash against Scotland at Murrayfield. Follow the squad on their captain's run, the kickers visit to Murrayfield and Neil Jenkins' press conference