Following their landslide victory in the WRU Colleges Cup finals, Coleg y Cymoedd’s 18’s rugby squad have defeated a visiting New Zealand rugby team, which is considered to be one of the strongest school teams in the world.
As they lined up on the pitch and faced the ‘haka’ the Cymoedd squad knew the match in front of them was going to be a tough challenge. Their opponents being, Hamilton Boys’ High School, from New Zealand; former school of Wales’ Head Coach, Warren Gatland.
The match was the last fixture in their month long tour to Ireland and Wales, which had seen them play Ulster Select Schools, Belfast, Blackrock College, Dublin and Coleg Sir Gar.
The game got underway, with Cymoedd dominating the opening exchanges to secure an early lead. Despite a heavy downpour, which made conditions tricky, the standard of play was excellent with some good phases of play, resulting in a Cymoedd lead at half time.
The visitors came out strong in the second half and the defence of the Cymoedd squad was tested, but the resolute tackling from all the players ensured the visitors were denied additional points on the scoreboard.
The game settled down and Cymoedd dominated possession once again, repeatedly testing the defence of Hamilton. There was an air of confidence in the Cymoedd play with both forwards and backs combining well.
Hamilton, however did not give in and looked dangerous when in possession of the ball. However the final score was a true reflection of the game, with a well- deserved 44-8 win to Cymoedd.
After the match Cymoedd Coach, Clive Jones said “The match was a great opportunity for our boys to play a visiting team of this calibre and the determination of both teams to play attacking rugby made it a highly entertaining game for the supporters”. I am proud of the lads, they played as a team and Hamilton had no answer to our strong performance”.
The match attracted interest from Cardiff Blues and also the Welsh Rugby Union, with renowned international players such as Wales’ National Forwards Coach, Robin McBryde and Under 20’s Coach Jason Strange, keeping a close eye from the stand.
Coleg y Cymoedd Rugby Academy has grown in strength and numbers over the past six years and has already produced thirty-four international players from Under 18’s and Under 20’s. Last week the team won the Welsh Colleges Cup Final for the 2nd year running, at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, beating a strong Sir Gar team 44-24 to become the 2016 WRU Rugby Colleges champions.