Coleg y Cymoedd learners and staff are celebrating success as their collegeâ€™s under 18s squad became the WRU Welsh Schools and Colleges Rugby league champions for the second year in a row.
The Cardiff Blues affiliated college retained its title as reigning champion with a 28-19 win over arch-rivals Coleg Sir Gar in a tense battle between the two giants of Under 18s rugby at Sardis Road.
In a close game, which was the seventh successive final to see the two teams face each other, supporters of both sides were kept on the edge of their seats before a late try from Cardiff Blues U18â€™s Will Clapham secured Cymoedd the win.
Leading with a nine-point difference, the result marks the second consecutive victory for Coleg y Cymoedd against Coleg Sir Gar, as well as four years of WRU College League titles for the team.
The win follows a successful season for Coleg y Cymoedd which has seen the squad win 16 out of 17 games played including pre-season fixtures. In addition to being crowned the 2019 WRU Welsh Schools and Colleges champion, the collegeâ€™s team also won the 2018 British Colleges Cup for the fifth year in a row, beating stiff competition from all over the country for the coveted title. The squad is now competing in the group stages for the 2019 British Colleges League and is already at the top of its group.
Commenting on the squadâ€™s latest win and outstanding performance over the last year, Lee Davies, Director of Rugby at Coleg y Cymoedd, said: â€œ2018-2019 has been another successful season for the rugby programme. Winning both the Welsh Colleges and British Colleges Cups in the same year was an amazing achievement and one that we hope to repeat in 2019. Kickstarting the year with the win against Sir GÃ¢r puts us in a very strong position to do this.
“There is a special rivalry between Cymoedd and Sir GÃ¢r and we were excited to go head to head again. It was always going to be a tough game as both teams are very talented and well-coached, but we were well prepared, and I am very impressed with the boysâ€™ performance. It was a great game.
â€œI am very proud of the effort and commitment shown by all of the boys on the team. The success they have achieved doesnâ€™t come easy â€“ they are a very talented bunch and have worked really hard for this, even coming in over the Christmas holidays and New Year to train. This dedication has been reflected by the fact that many of them have been selected to play for regional and national teams, with 18 of our players in the current Cardiff Blues Under 18s squad, and ten of our boys in the Wales Under 18s and 19s.â€
One Coleg y Cymoedd learner to have secured a place with the Cardiff Blues Under 18s team and Walesâ€™ national training camp is 18-year-old Ieuan Pring from Llanharan, who is also captain of the collegeâ€™s U18 team.
Ieuan said: â€œIt was amazing to win the Welsh Schools and Colleges Cup. We saw a strong performance from the boys, which is testament to all the work and training weâ€™ve put in. Iâ€™m very proud of the team and also thankful to our coaches at the college.
â€œColeg y Cymoeddâ€™s Rugby academy helped to prepare us for the game and has also helped many of the team to kickstart their rugby careers. Itâ€™s great that it enables you to combine rugby and education together so that you can work on your qualifications while receiving top class rugby training.â€
Alongside playing for the Cardiff Blues, Ieuan attends Coleg y Cymoeddâ€™s Rugby Academy where he studies a BTEC Level 3 Extended diploma while training and playing with Cymoeddâ€™s rugby team.
At the College Rugby Academy, Ieuan receives expert rugby tuition, rugby analysis and strength and conditioning to help maximise his rugby potential. However, the College Academy also ensures that rugby learners are prepared academically should a career in rugby not materialise.
Designed to give players the chance to combine accredited rugby training with full-time academic study, the academy offers BTEC Level 1, 2 or 3 sports qualifications and/or A-Levels alongside training as part of the programme.
Rhondda Cynon Taff