As preparations get underway for a week-long celebration of community rugby at the Principality Stadium, we caught up with Swansea Schools, before their game in the final of the Dewar Shield.
Competing in the oldest school boy’s competition in World rugby, the Welsh Schools National Dewar Shield, Swansea Schools have pulled out all the stops and earned themselves a place in the final of the competition against Cardiff Schools in just a weeks’ time.
Speaking ahead of the game, Head Coach of the side Gareth Davies said: “It’s fantastic, as a group of coaches we’re really chuffed for the boys. They’ve put in a long season of hard graft, so they definitely deserve to be in the final against Cardiff.”
Davies is joined in the coaching setup with Liam Brooks, and young Osprey players, Matthew Aubrey, Will Jones and Phil Jones.
“We’ve had a good season on the whole. At the start maybe we didn’t think we’d do so well. But in the group stages we’ve played seven games, won six of those and lost just the one. That loss was to Cardiff Schools, but on the whole it’s been a great season.”
Swansea Schools sat in second place in the table on 18 points just behind their opponents in the final, Cardiff Schools, who sat in first on 21. The side picked up some impressive performances along the way, including a 28-5 win over Pontypridd, and 45-7 away victory over Cynon Valley. Winning six of those seven games secured the squad a semi-final game against Pontypool where the young team soared to a 34-15 win to book their place in the final.
“It’s a huge achievement for the boys. They haven't played in the Principality before, so it's going to be a really special occasion. We’d spoken about the finals on and off all season, it’s been a target for the squad to get there and they’ve done incredibly well to achieve that. Now it’s all about going on and picking up the Dewar Shield trophy at the end of it.”
In the Final, the Swansea side will be looking for redemption over their opponents, after their only loss of the season coming from the hands of the capital team.
“It’s going to be a tough game against Cardiff. We’ve played them twice this season, once in the group stages and once in preseason, which we only lost by two points!”
“They’re a big, physical team up front and they’ve got a very sharp back three. They like to play open, running rugby like ourselves so hopefully it’ll be a good game with both teams up for the challenge. They do technically have the home advantage, playing in Cardiff but we’re not going to let that impact on our game. It’s going to be a challenge, but something the whole team are looking forward to.”
"They're a talented bunch of boys and its been a pleasure to coach them this year. They've really bought into our ethos and style of play and have thrived in the environment."
Catch the squad in action on Thursday 2nd May in the Dewar Shield Final at the Principality Stadium, K.O 6:15pm.