SWALEC Finals Preview

SWALEC Cup Final: Aberavon v Pontypridd
Aberavon face Pontypridd in the SWALEC Cup Final on Monday looking to upset Ponty’s charge for a domestic double this season.
Pontypridd have already clinched top place in the Principality Premiership, earning them a play-off final spot and are looking to put last week’s disappointment in the British & Irish Cup behind them, by lifting the SWALEC Cup this weekend.
SWALEC Finals day at the Millennium Stadium is a familiar outing for the Ponty faithful, who will be making the short trip into the Welsh capital for the fourth time in six years.
Ponty didn’t have it all their own way on route to the final but deserved a little luck according to Adam Thomas.
“We had a little bit of luck coming through, but winning becomes a bit of a habit and I think that helped us through,” he said.
“We had won 21 games on the bounce until Saturday (defeat to Bristol in the British & Irish Cup) so it has been a bit of a shock but we have to put things right and the boys will want to show what they can do on Monday.”
Aberavon made it through to the final following victories over Llandovery and Cardiff in the semi and quarter finals respectively.
It will be the third time the two sides have met this season and it was Pontypridd who took the honours on the previous two occasions.
The league fixtures ended in 32 v 21 and 40 v 22 victories for Ponty but SWALEC finals day is a one off occasion and previous results will mean little according to Aberavon captain Chris Davies.
“Cup rugby is completely different to the league,” he said.
“Ponty have obviously done really well to be where they are and they have beat us twice this season.
“But I really don’t think that will count for much on the day. Cup rugby is a whole different game.
“We have had a tough run to get to the final, but in this sort of competition you know you have to play the best teams along the way, we are all just looking forward to Monday and what is going to be a really close game.”

SWALEC Plate: Glynneath v Ammanford
Ammanford go in search of their second SWALEC Plate title in two years on Monday when they meet Glynneath in this year’s final at the Millennium Stadium.
Mark Jones led his side to a 46 v 20 victory over Risca two years ago and will once again lead Ammanford hoping for a repeat performance on this bank holiday weekend.
“It is really exciting to be going back,” said Jones.
“We were fortunate to get here two years ago and win, but there are a lot of new faces in the side now so it’s going to be a big day for them.
“Leading the team out at the greatest stadium in the world is a fantastic honor and it was an emotional day for me.
“I have told the new boys this year to make sure they sit back and take it all in. It’s a day you will always remember and everything goes by so fast.
Ammanford reached the final following a 58 v 26 victory over Gorseinon in the last-four while their opponents, Glynneath beat Tondu 16 v 3 in their semi-final.
Glynneath play their league rugby a division below Ammanford but captain Dale Newell believes even though their opponents may go into the game asfavourites, Glynneath need to focus on their own performance.
“We have worked really hard so to get here is really well deserved,” he said.
“They will go into the game as favourites, they have been here before and are top of the league above us.
“But we know we have the resources to win and we simply have to go out onto the pitch and play our own brand of rugby.
“We have played some good rugby on the way to the final and it’s a fantastic feeling knowing you are going to be playing in the national stadium.”

SWALEC Bowl Final: Maesteg Harlequins v Senghenydd
Table topping duo Maesteg Harlequins and Senghenydd meet in the SWALEC Bowl final at the Millennium Stadium on Monday with both sides looking to complete the double this season.
Maesteg Harlequins are currently unbeaten at the helm of SWALEC League Four South West and face Senghenydd who top SWALEC League Four East, who themselves have eighteen wins to their name this season.
Maesteg Harlequins came out on top when the two sides met recently but backs coach Robbie Morris is not taking anything for granted and is only too aware the threat Senghenydd pose.
“The game against them recently was very physical and really tough,” he said.
“We know what they bring to the table and they are a big physical team.
“It’s a great feeling looking forward to the final and it is starting to feel real now. We just can’t wait for the whole town to get behind us and have a great day out.”
For Senghenydd the final is the biggest day in the club’s history according to head coach, former Caerphilly hooker Chris Ferris.
“There’s a huge interest in Senghennydd,” he said.
“It’s the biggest game of the club’s history and we’re all looking forward to the final.

“We’ll go into the match knowing how good they are as they beat us recently in the Silver Ball. We lost that 25-12 and know we will have to play extremely well to come away with a win as they play a good game of rugby.”

Tickets will be available to buy on Monday at the Millennium Stadium from Gate 3 from 10am – tickets £10 adult, £5 concessions.


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