COUGARS VICTORIOUS AS WALES HEAD TO WORLD CUP NEXT WEEK
By Gary Baker. Wales Rugby League Communications Manager Valley Cougars 20 Wales Students 18 (Pictture: Action from Tuesday's match between Valley Cougars and Wales Students) WALES Students had a reasonable final run-out before they head to the World Cup next week and an opening day with South Africa. They took on South Wales Conference high-flyers Valley Cougars in front of a good crowd at Treharris RFC on Tuesday night and only just came away with a loss as Valley scored the winning try through Mike Hurley with four minutes to go. It was a tough work-out for the Students who 18-16 going into the home straight after first-half tries from Tom Hughes and Harrison Elliott, converted by Jack Morgan and Scott Amber. But the Cougars, who are top of the Conference and beat Newport Titans last Saturday by 60-10, were a cohesive unit and, in wing Dan Davies, selected for the Wales Dragonhearts, they had a try-scoring machine who went over twice in the first-half after some neat play on both occasions. Kevin James crashed over for the Cougars' third try on 36 minutes but, after the break, the Students exerted some intense pressure that will stand them in good stead when they face the tough prospect of five matches in 12 exhausting days if they are to win the tournament. Twice they were unlucky not to score when a brilliant last-gasp tackle in the right corner stopped Tom Davies scoring a certain try. And then, on the other side of the Cougars' goal-line, a dropped pass – handling errors were a feature of the Students' game – saw them mess up another certainty. Finally Louis Singleton went over under the posts, although there was a bit of doubt as to whether he grounded the ball after a wrap-around tackle by the home defence, which Morgan converted that put the Students into a two-point lead with eight minutes left. But that last drive from the Cougars saw lynchpin half-back Paul Emmanuelli spread the ball to Matthew Powell who, in turn, put Hurley over from twenty metres for the winning touchdown. Afterwards, Wales Students Team Manager Mark Jones said: "It was a good work-out for us against a competitive Cougars side and has put us in a good place ahead of our camp for the World Cup." Wales Rugby League would like to thank Treharris RFC for hosting this final warm-up match for the Students and also to congratulate Ian Williams who won the raffle for the shirt.