DROVERS SEE CUP BID END IN A THRILLER
LLANDOVERY’S bid for a third WRU National Cup triumph ended in a thriller at The Gnoll.
It is Cardiff who will get the opportunity to end 22 years of hurt on April 28 after booking themselves a place in the final.
The famous old Arms Park club will pop next door again after defeating two-time former cup winners Llandovery in a hugely entertaining semifinal.
Steve Law’s side will take their place at the Principality Stadium when they bid to dethrone Merthyr and lift the cup for the eighth time, having not done so since 1997.
It will also be their first appearance in the final for 12 years.
In what was a repeat of the 2007 showpiece where Llandovery triumphed, tries from hooker and skipper Joey Tomlinson — on his 100th appearance — No. 8 Morgan Allen, fly-half Gareth Thompson and a brace from full-back Ed Howley made sure it was the Blue and Blacks who prevailed this time.
“I’m over the moon for the players, the coaches, the club, all the supporters and everybody involved with it,” said Law.
“It’s a massive club steeped in history and the boys did them proud.
“Llandovery were always going to play for 80 minutes.
“They’ve got great skill sets and any chink in our set-up they took advantage of it.
“But I just thought we were comfortable winners by the end of it.
“They came back to eight points down at one stage but, even then, we looked like we were causing ourselves problems deep in their half and they capitalised on them. I think we were deserved winners.”
This was a 12th straight win for Premiership and cup-double chasing Cardiff and a 13th from 14, a run that also includes a draw with the Drovers. This was their first win over Llandovery in three attempts this season.
Law added: “When we’re under pressure the boys are finding a way.
“That’s testament to the hard work that they put in through the week, they believe in each other and believe in what they are doing in training and stick to it.”
Cardiff drew first blood in the fourth minute through Tomlinson, with the try converted by Gareth Thompson who soon added a penalty.
Jack Maynard kicked Llandovery on to the scoreboard but Cardiff were soon over again when wing Joe Gatt sent Allen through.
Howley scored a third Cardiff try in the 22nd minute but Llandovery responded through centre Rhodri Jones.
Maynard added the extras to cut the gap to 20-10 at the break.
It was very nearly the perfect start to the second half for Cardiff as Will Rees-Hole looked to have broken a couple of challenges to force his way over before losing control of the ball, and then flanker Tom Daley was denied a try.
But they were over again five minutes after the restart when Howley touched down for his second try.
Back came the Drovers as scrumhalf Lee Rees ran through on 48 minutes, with Maynard converting to pull his side back to within just eight points.
Thompson’s second penalty put Cardiff 28-17 up before Thompson made sure with an interception try in added time and he chipped the extras to round things off.
Stuart Worrall of Llandovery is tackled by Kieran Martin.