RGC 15 v Pontypridd 11 - match report

2 months ago By Gary Williams

Following match reports kindly supplied by WRU and RGC News.

To view picture albums from this game, please click on the following links:

RGC v Pontypridd by Phil Williams

RGC at the Principality Stadium by Gary Williams

RGC 1404 made history as they clinched a maiden National Cup crown with a 15-11 victory over six-time champions Pontypridd at Principality Stadium.

Mark Jones' men had Tiaan Loots and Ross Davies to thank as their tries either side of half time proved enough to take the Cup back north.

Pontypridd scored through Lewis Williams just before the break, but it was not enough to secure a seventh knock-out triumph.

RGC thought they had the game's first try after three minutes, but Alex Schwarz's effort was ruled out by the TMO after replays showed the scrum-half spilled the ball on the try-line.

It was a battle of the defences in the opening 20 minutes as both sides had half chances to break the deadlock.

Pontypridd's Ben Jones saw a penalty fall well short and missed with another attempt minutes later.

But there were no issues for New Zealander Jacob Botica, who drilled his first penalty between the uprights to put RGC ahead.

And the outside-half played a hand in setting up the first try. The son of All Blacks legend Frano reversed the ball inside for the charging Loots to cross at the posts.

Pontypridd got on the board soon after as Wales Under-20 star Jones adjusted his radar to slot a penalty and RGC were suddenly up against it when Rhys Williams saw yellow for a high tackle.

The Black and Whites made the most of the extra man with a clever try.

Afon Bagshaw misjudged a high ball and fumbled into touch with the quick-thinking Lewis Williams finding Wayne Evans at the line-out. He returned the favour for the wing to scamper away to the corner.

Jones missed the conversion to leave the match at 10-8 at the break.

Pontypridd were on the charge and RGC went down to 13 when Phil John - who won the National Cup with Llandovery in 2007 - went to the sin bin for killing the ball.

Jones added the resulting penalty to put the his time into the lead for the first time.

Botica put a penalty attempt narrowly wide, but Davies made up for that with a try after scrambling over, with the TMO confirming the ball had touched the whitewash.

The game was still very much in the balance at 15-11 with RGC looking the more likely to score again going into the final quarter.

RGC put themselves in some good positions, but failed to make the most of them as Pontypridd held firm.

Chris Dicomidis' men crept forward with five minutes to go, but Keiron Assiratti's knock-on killed their progress and RGC edged over the line for an historic win.

Following report from RGC News

Historic Cup Win

RGC dug deep to win an historic 1st WRU National Cup Final against Pontypridd.

The Gogs scored tries from Tiaan Loots, and Ross Davies but the game will be remembered for the defence work to keep Ponty out in the last 10 minutes.

Andrew Williams has seen a few firsts in his RGC career but the Principality Stadium victory is one to cherish "It's hard to sum up the win with any words. We wanted to put in a performance for the supporters who came down in numbers. We get plaudits for our attack, but today to a man our defence stood stall and worked so hard to keep them out"

Centre Tom Hughes also paid credit to the fans "The noise was amazing, running out with all those supporters cheering us gave me goosebumps. It was always going to be a tough game, but overall we deserved the win. The defence worked, we stayed off them at the rucks and kept on making the tackles knowing if we stuck to the plan the would make a mistake and we would clear the ball....which was the story of the 2nd half"

Winger Rhys Williams was another player to put in a big shift "At half-time we said we had to win the next 40 minutes and we edged it. We kept our head in the 2nd half and we were able to keep to the gameplan. The effort we put in with those tackles and defence made the difference. We weren't giving an inch in that last 10 minutes"

Updated 10:32 - 17 Apr 2017 by Gary Williams

Where next?

Finals day at the Principality - view from the press box - an Oval Zone blog First time ever in the Principality press box on a truly momentous occasion.
Ruthin 13 v Mold 33 - match report Following report kindly supplied by Ruthin RFC.

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