Bridgend Athletic Youth's captain Ben Howe lifted the Webb Ellis Cup after a 30-18 win by his team over Whitland Youth at a sun-kissed Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
While Bridgend Athletic Youth had started the match as favourites and the final score line suggests that they were comfortable winners this final was a titanic battle.
Both teams came into the match with unbeaten records in the National Youth League and it soon became apparent why the teams had been so successful this season.
Whitland started very well and put their opponents under extreme pressure in the early stages and took a lead through the reliable boot of full back, James Stephenson.
As the half progressed Whitland Youth expanded their game to create two or three try chances. Those chances were not taken but four well struck penalties by Stephenson gave them a 12-6 half time lead. Bridgend Athletic Youth were kept in contact by two penalties from scrum half Tom Davies.
In the second half Bridgend Athletic Youth stepped up the pace. They established a tempo that led to an excellent try finished by flying wing Luke Morgan. Whitland Youth rallied but were finally defeated by two late tries by Luke Yardley and Lloyd Evans. Tom Davies converted all three tries and kicked another penalty to make a most valued contribution to the Bridgend Athletic Youth score.
There were high levels of skill exhibited by both teams. These skills married with a great physicality and a good spirited approach by both teams lead to a wonderful advertisement for Youth rugby.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.
The WRU officially unveiled the new pitch today in time for Wales to take on Australia in the first of the Dove Men Series autumn international matches this Saturday. Head Groundsman Lee Evans and colleague Craig Campbell reflect on the 15-week project and look ahead to a pitch perfect future at Millennium Stadium.