On Saturday 25th April the finals of the Welsh Schools U15 championships (Dewar Shield) were held at a blustery Swansea's St Helens ground.
Cardiff Schools played Rhondda schools in a nail biting highly competitive game which saw both teams manage high standards of rugby that all involved should be proud of.
The game as expected took on a quick tempo from the start with Cardiff showing their intent by getting the ball wide to the wingers in the early moments. Cardiff took advantage of the strong wind that was in their favour in the first half to gain good field position and to ease the pressure as Rhondda began to gain some momentum up front. Rhondda's impressive lineout began to function well with Cymmer second row Daniel Morns claiming a number of steals on the Cardiff throw in as well as securing his own ball.
After quarter of an hour Cardiff were awarded a penalty for holding on - Outside Half Gareth Thompson judged the wind well to slot the penalty that gave Cardiff a 3-0 lead.
After the score both teams exchanged some good phases of play and Rhondda began to put Cardiff under pressure with a series of strong scrummages which gave them a good platform to attack the Cardiff line. The moment of the game came after a scintillating break by Thompson who cut clean through the Rhonnda backline untouched and had his pass gone to hand Cardiff could have quite possibly gone into the break with a clear edge. Cardiff with minutes remaining before the break were awarded a penalty which Thompson converted to double their lead.
Half time Rhondda Schools 0 Cardiff Schools 6
Rhondda started the second half confidently, using the strong breeze well they kept Cardiff pinned in their own half and began to build pressure on the Cardiff line and it was them who drew first blood as Centre Callum Phillips (Cymmer) stepped up to cut the deficient to three points. (6-3)
Lifted by their travelling support Rhondda stepped up their game and began to maintain possession and dominate the set piece which saw Cardiff penned inside their own half for large periods. With both teams now showing great character Rhondda pushed hard for a try and maybe should have looked for better options with the amount of possession they had rather than try and crashed through the very impressive Cardiff defensive effort.
With few minutes remaining Cardiff managed to get hold of the ball and break out of their 22 through winger Tom Lewis who was brought down on the half way by a good cover tackle by winger Jordan Edwards (Porth County).
As both teams looked at the referee and tiredness in abundance Cardiff managed to seize control of the ball and hold on for a well earned victory.
Once again a great advert for schools rugby and pleasing to know that for the second year running the final has been contested by two side within the Blues region. Well done all.