Two weeks ago many of the players who will be in the Cardiff & Vale College and Coleg y Cymoedd teams were team mates in the Cardiff Blues U18 side, but there will be no love lost when they meet up at the Arms Park in their opening game in the National Schools & Colleges League (7.15pm live on S4C Chwaeron).
Cymoedd come into the game as the reigning champions, but short of four or five players, including the Wales U18 outside half Ben Burnell, who dislocated his shoulder playing for the region.
“We have only had two sessions and now we are into our first game. We’ve had a lot of boys away with the Blues U18 team playing in the Regional Age Grade tournament, so we’ve had no time with them over the summer,” said the head of rugby at Cymoedd, Leigh Davies.
“We’ve got four or five players missing, so until we get onto the field I don’t really know how we are going to go. But the players are always excited about playing on a game that is live on TV and there is as much buzz about it as playing for the region, especially as they will be facing many of their team mates.
“From a competition perspective, many other colleges in England are envious of what we have got here in Wales. It is a fantastic product and it would be a travesty if it went after where it has got to on so many levels.
“It is a great breeding ground for future professionals in playing, refereeing and coaching. The top half of the table were all able to beat each other last season and there are five or six teams with very good squads this time.”
Cardiff & Vale will be led from No 8 by the Blues U18 captain Evan Lloyd. They come into the game having beaten the champions on their own patch at Sardis Road last season.
“We always start slow and build through the season. Last year we beat them at Sardis Road and this is going to be a proper derby match and a great showcase of the top talent in the Blues region,” said Martyn Fowler, head of rugby at Cardiff & Vale College.
There will be another great Cardiff Blues derby clash the following day when Ysgol Glantaf welcome their near neighbours Whitchurch HS. Last season’s runners-up, Coleg Sir Gar, kick-off at home against Bridgend College.
National Schools & Colleges League
Wednesday, 11 September
Bridgend College 12, Llandovery College 5
Tuesday, 17 September
Cardiff & Vale College v Coleg y Cymoedd
Wednesday, 18 September
Llandovery College v Pembrokeshire College
Ysgol Glantaf v Whitchurch HS
Coleg Llandrillo v Neath Port Talbot College
Coleg Sir Gar v Bridgend College