24th April 2013, 16:23
HISTORY IN THE MAKING THIS FRIDAY
CHAMPION SCHOOLS FINALS ALL ON ONE DAY
By Mark Jones
National Development Manager
On Friday 26th of April, at The Gnoll, Neath, Wales Rugby League will make history by playing all five Champion Schools finals at the same venue. The event promises to be a spectacular day for spectators and players alike.
The Carnegie Champions Schools continues to be the flagship competition for the development of grassroots rugby league in Wales. The 2012/2013 season has seen 65 secondary schools and a 145 teams enter the Welsh regional rounds from Year 7 to 6th Form age grades. Each regional winner progressed to the knockout stages with the top two meeting in the Welsh finals and both finalists progressing to the UK National rounds.
The Year 7 final will see Ystlafera take on Cwm Rhymni for the Welsh Title, these schools have a great rivalry in this tournament. In 2012, their Year 10’s met in the first all Welsh UK semi- final which doubled as the Welsh Final where Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Ystalyfera beat fellow Welsh speaking school Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni 42-18, Ystalyfera also took the Year 7 Welsh title that year beating Cwm Rhymni 28 – 14. Cwm Rhymni will be out for revenge and have progressed to the last 8 of the UK competition beating Ryburn Valley from Yorkshire 38-18.
Cwm Rhymni will then contest the Year 8 final with St Josephs(Port Talbot), Cwm Rhymni will be out to go one further and take the title that eluded them in the final in 2012, but St Joseph’s will have other ideas. Both sides performed gallantly in their UK rounds, and this promises to be a mouth-watering fixture.
The next final will again see Ystalyfera play Lewis Boys in the Year 10 Welsh Final. Lewis Boys having been playing rugby league at school for 3 years. In 2011 they won the year 11 Welsh title and got to the last 8 of the British cup. This season the Year 10 have beaten St Josephs(Newport) former British Champions 2011 and reigning Welsh Champions, Croesyceiliog and Afon Taf in the East Regional and went on to beat Cwm Rhymni in the Welsh semi- final.
The penultimate match will feature St Joseph’s(Newport) versus Pencoed in the Year 9 final. Pencoed will start the game as favourites as they are reigning Year 8 Welsh Champions and are through to the last 8 of the UK National round. St Josephs will be out to burst their bubble and will be very well drilled by a Stefan Sankala a previous winner of the RFL teacher of the year 2011.
The concluding match of this extraordinary day will be the Year 11 final, where St John’s(Aberdare) will battle it out with Strady(Llanelli) for the converted crown. Both schools are new to the game and competition but have impressed in their regional and semi-finals, beating the pre-tournament favourites on their march to the Gnoll.
Welsh Finals Timetable
Year 7 Cwm Rhymni v Ystalaferra Kick-Off 10.30am
Year 8 St Joseph’s v Cwm Rhymni Kick-Off – 11.45am
Year 10 Lewis Boys v Ystalaferra Kick-Off – 1.00pm
Year 9 Pencoed v St Josephs(Newport) Kick-Off – 2.15pm
Year 11St Johns v Strady Kick-Off – 3.30pm