Morgan Morse

STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 29: Morgan Morse of Wales U20 makes a pas as being tackled during the World Rugby U20 Championship 2023, group A match between Wales and Japan at Danie Craven Stadium on June 29, 2023 in Stellenbosch, South Africa. (Photo by World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Swansea Roll Back The Years As They Make WRU Premiership Cup Last Four

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By Paul Jones

Swansea could be in the mood to party like it’s 1999 as they made the last four of this season’s WRU Premiership Cup with a 27-16 victory over Ospreylian rivals Bridgend Ravens at St Helen’s.

The Whites have enjoyed past success in the cup in its various former guises as three-time winners, but it was 24 years ago they last won the cup as they beat then Swalec Cup holders Llanelli at Ninian Park.

They were close again in 2000 but Lllanelli got their revenge the following year in the WRU Challenge Cup final at what was then the Millennium Stadium.

Meanwhile, not since 2009 have Swansea been in the semis of the Welsh cup – but the win over Bridgend raises hopes they could be about to end what would be a quarter of a century wait since their last triumph if they win the semi and secure their place in the final at Principality Stadium on 7 April.

“If we were to make it, of course it would be huge for us and an opportunity to thank everybody for all the support we’ve had over the years,” said Swansea head coach Hugh Gustafson.

“For the development of these young guys as well it would be nice to take them to the Principality Stadium if we can so they have the experience of such an occasion.

“As we said straight after the game on Saturday, anything can happen in a semi-final, it’s a one-off game and sometimes it can come down to the bounce of a ball.”

Hooker Jamie Cox’s try, along with a 35-yard dash to score by back rower Morgan Morse and second half try from Cameron Jones following a superb break from inside his own 22 from Harri Houston, won it for Swansea. Rhys Jones converted all three tries, having got the scoreboard ticking with two early penalties.

Bridgend, to their credit, never gave up. Prop Harry Olding’s first half try and penalties from Paul Short either side of the break kept them in it, but Cameron Jones’ try was crucial and the contest was already over by the time Jakob Williams scored their second try late on.

“It was pleasing as we’ve been struggling to find that win. We’ve been getting bonus points but losing games in the league, so it’s nice to get that win,” added Gustafson.

“Winning breeds more winning and, hopefully, we can take that into the league in the next two weeks. I was pleased with how well we used the wind in the first half, as there have been games where we’ve had the wind, but haven’t really used it properly.

“The boys showed good maturity and we made it difficult then for Bridgend to chase the game in the second half. Then with some really good energy from our bench we managed to score another try – and keep them out.”

Joining Swansea in the semi-finals are two-time former cup winners Llandovery, who were crushing 58-3 winners over Aberavon at Church Bank. The Wizards, Premiership Cup runners-up two years ago, took an early lead through Aled Thomas’ penalty but on the day they were no match for Llandovery.

Ioan Hughes responded with a penalty for the hosts who would go on to score three first half tries, courtesy of prop Jamie Hughes, scrum-half Lee Rees – converted – and full-back Harri Doel for a 20-3 half time lead.

Jamie Hughes ran in his second try five minutes after the re-start before two tries in as many minutes from Nathan Hart and Taylor Davies, with Jack Maynard converting the latter for a 37-3 lead.

The Drovers weren’t done there, either. Centre Rhodri Jones and replacements Macs Page and Daf Land also got in the act, all converted by Maynard.

Drovers head coach Euros Evans was in the first Llandovery side to win the cup in 2007 and then coached the team to a second win in 2016 – and they are now within touching distance of a third final.

Merthyr also booked their place in the semi-finals as they overcame a spirited Carmarthen Quins side 39-24 at the Wern.

Tries from skipper Paddy McBride, prop Callum Lewis, wing Lloyd Rowlands and replacements Tom Daley and Josh Lewis won it on the day for the Ironmen. Outside half Gareth Thompson kicked four conversions, a penalty and a drop goal.

Merthyr beat Newport to win the National Cup in 2018 and were back at the Principality Stadium in 2019 when they lost to Cardiff as then holders in the final.

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