Josh Adams is just one of a number of Welsh internationals who have graduated from the Welsh Schools & Colleges Cup final winning teams to play for Wales and all eyes will be on the ‘Class of 2019’ tonight at Sardis Road when two familiar foes do battle once again for one of the top Under 18 titles in the country.
Reigning champions Coleg Y Cymoedd will be hoping to make it four wins in a row over arch-rivals Coleg Sir Gar in the game, which will be televised on the S4C Facebook book page Chwaraeron (kick-off 7.30pm), but both coaches admit the game is too close to call.
Adams was in the 2013 Sir Gar team that won the title at the Principality Stadium and is one of two full Welsh internationals from the squad that day along with Ryan Elias. Other players, such as Will Boyde, Tom Phillips, Dan Jones and Kieran Hardy, are all in the Scarlets squad.
The Coleg Morgannwg squad, now Coleg Y Cymoedd, boasted future Cardiff Blues and Wales half-backs Tomos Williams and Jarrod Evans, as well as international forwards Dillon Lewis and Seb Davies. Aled Summerhill, Harri Millard and Liam Belcher have all made it into the regional game.
These were the teams six years ago:
2013 Welsh Colleges League Cup Final Teams:
Coleg Sir Gar: Rhys Evans; David Treharne, Craig Woodall, Morgan Griffiths, Josh Adams; Jack Maynard, Gareth Rees; Bradley Davies, Torin Myhill, Dexter Thomas, Jake Baker, Ryan Morgan, Tom Phillips, Will Boyde, Josh Middleton
Reps: Ceiron Evan, Taylor Davies, Javan Sebastian, Ryan Elias, Charlie Randall, Kieran Hardy, Dan Jones, Rhys Davies
Coleg Morgannwg: Tom MacAloon; Jack Huntley, Aled Summerhill, Gabe Davies, Lewis Morgan; Jared Evans, Tom Williams; Leon Crump, Liam Belcher, Dillon Lewis, Seb Davies, Matthew Jeczalik, Jack James, Matthew Marley, Hemi Barnes
Reps: Ryan Spriggs, Rob Lewis, Aiden Luxton, Bradley Llewellyn, Cai Jenkins, Harri Millard, Cobi Flowers
Sir Gar have been an ever-present in the finals stretching back to the inaugural event in 2011, while it will be a sixth successive final appearance for Cymoedd, and a seventh if you count their previous incarnation, Coleg Morgannwg.
The score between East and West stands at 4-3 in favour of the Llanelli-based Sir Gar at the final stage, although Cymoedd have triumphed in three of the last four finals. They also won the two meetings last season and were 17-14 victors when the two teams met at Sardis Road on 27 November.
“We played quite well the last time we played them and the game was in the balance right to the end. We were disappointed not to win it,” said Sir Gar director of rugby, Euros Evans.
“We haven’t changed a great deal since then and have tried to concentrate on ourselves as much as possible in the build-up. This season’s team probably has greater strength in depth than in some of the previous years, even if it doesn’t have as many international stars.
“We’ve been in every final since the tournament began, but we haven’t necessarily had the best players over that period of time. What we do have, just like Cymoedd, is a good rugby environment.”
Sir Gar ended up on top of the regular league season thanks in the main to playing one more match than Cymoedd, who had their final match against Gower College cancelled. The champions lost only once during the campaign, 33-26 to Cardiff & Vale College, while Sir Gar were beaten by Cymoedd and Ysgol Glantaf.
Both sides are captained from the back row and both Ieuan Pring (Cymoedd) and Sam Williams (Sir Gar) faced each other in last season’s final. Cymoedd will be missing influential centre Ioan Evans and front row men Garyn Phillips and Ieuan Morris, but director of rugby Lee Davies still feels they could have enough to hold onto their crown.
“There is a special rivalry between Cymoedd and Sir Gar – it is the first fixture we look for when the tournament starts,” said Davies.
“There will be two very talented, well coached teams going head to head yet again and we are desperate to hold onto the trophy. Our game earlier this season could have gone either way and it probably is too close to call.
“But we have prepared well, the boys are ready to give their all and it promises to be a great game.”
Cymoedd: Bailey Roberts; Cavan Davies, Macauley Rowley, Iwan Sheppard, Iwan Price-Thomas; Tyler Morris, Ethan Lloyd; Harrison Chapman, Mitch Savage, Rhys Lewis, Cai James, Mitchel Barnard, Lloyd Gregory, Ethan Fackrell, Ieuan Pring (captain)
Reps: Arwel Hughes, Travis Green, Iestyn Haskins, Rhys Anstey, Alex Mann, Rhys Howells, Lloyd Wilkins, Will Clapham
Sir Gar: Dean James; Callum Williams, Ilan Phillips, Bradley Roderick, Harrison Button; Jack Tregoning, Dai Jones; Keelan Jewell, Rhodri King, Zak Giannini, Joe Scott, Ryan Evans, Leon Samuel, Caine Rees-Jones, Sam Williams (captain)
Reps: Morgan Thomas, Nikki Frampton, Sean Janes, Elliot Briskham, Sam Richards, Lewis Clayton, Jac Howells, Liam Cox
2010/11: Coleg Sir Gar 20, Coleg Gwent 19
2011/12: Coleg Sir Gar 16, Coleg Gwent 17
2012/13: Coleg Sir Gar 18, Coleg Morgannwg 16
2013/14: Coleg Sir Gar 25, Coleg Y Cymoedd (formerly Morgannwg) 22,
2014/15: Coleg Y Cymoedd 13, Coleg Sir Gar 3
2015/16: Coleg Y Cymoedd 44, Coleg Sir Gar 24
2016/17: Coleg Sir Gar 27, Coleg Y Cymoedd 23
2017/18: Coleg Y Cymoedd 29, Coleg Sir Gar 10