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Classic Cup quarter final tie re-visited in latest RE:LIVE

CBTV | 28th April 2020


The RE:LIVE series continued on the weekend, as we pushed the rewind button all the way to 2003 to re-visit a classic Welsh Cup encounter between Cardiff and Pontypridd.

It was an enthralling, fiery encounter at the Arms Park, with Rhys Williams, Jamie Robinson and Martyn Williams dotting down for the hosts while Gareth Baber and Michael Owen replied for the visitors, and we looked at the full 80 minutes - including all the talking points in the pre-match and half time coverage.

The match, which was played in the week after the new regional sides were announced, included a number of legendary Welsh rugby figures including Neil Jenkins, Iestyn Harris, Sonny Parker, Brent Cockbain, Pieter Muller and a young Gethin Jenkins

Re-living the action were Welsh international trio Ceri Sweeney, Ryan Powell and try scorer Rhys Williams.

Scrum half Powell, looking back, believes the Arms Park outfit had one of the most exciting backline in Europe at the time: “They were pretty intense games between Cardiff and Ponty.

“We had a dangerous backline, rather than a forwards dominance, and that was the year we transitioned from boys like Dai Young who were retiring, and we were bringing a new breed through.

“We had a hell of a backline and we just needed to win enough ball, get it to the backs and see what we could do.

“I would say that we had one of the best backlines, on their day, in Europe. 

“They were always niggly and well contested games but the buzz around the stadium was phenomenal.

“There were a lot of us that came through together from 16s and built relationships from there, with boys like Nicky and Craig Morgan also coming into the group. It was a really good crew.

“It was a dream come true to sign for Cardiff. My missus was from Cardiff and while I was more of a Gwent boy, Cardiff was the team to play for.

“When they come knocking on your door, it’s a no brainer. Playing for Cardiff was like playing for Manchester United in the football.”

Williams spoke about how special the group of players were and has fond memories of the atmosphere at the Welsh capital: “It was always a sign for me at home games, when you were coming out of the tunnel and looking at the stand opposite. When that stand was full, you knew it was going to be a belter of an evening.

“Cardiff and Ponty games were always massive. I remember that we would’ve said that we needed to get the ball to our backs.

“That’s what you remember about these games - the stadium would just erupt on Friday and Satruday games.

“Especially in these derbies and European games, there would be key moments where you’d hear the stands erupt. The terraces are right on you.

“I really enjoyed this part of my career because it was with people I’d grown up with and a lot of the boys in the Ponty team I’d grown up with too, so these games were always good fun.”