Rydal Penrhos' rugby academy partners RGC will embark on the biggest game in the club’s history this weekend when they take on Pontypridd in the WRU National Cup final.
The Gogs have enjoyed a remarkable first season in the Principality Premiership, which culminates in Sunday’s clash at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff (5.30pm) which will be their first appearance in the final.
Hundreds of fans from North Wales will be making the journey to the capital to cheer on Mark Jones’ side, who geared up for the showcase with an impressive 37-31 win over reigning champions Ebbw Vale at Parc Eirias.
Player-coach and former pupil Josh Leach has said the final appearance will be the highlight of the club’s short history, and has praised the core of the group that have been with the regional side since they began their incredible journey.
He said: “Saturday’s Cup Final will no doubt be a highlight of RGC’s short history. The majority of player’s in the current squad have been involved with RGC from the beginning, achieving various stages of success and progress from WRU Division 1 East to where we are now. Having gone through all this together over the past five years the squad has become really tight, and for them the Cup is the next exciting challenge.
“Preparations started on Monday afternoon, last week was about getting league win against Ebbw Vale to keep our play-off hopes alive, and so now we can build towards Sunday. The off-field plans are all in place, so it’s just about preparing the players for the game now.”
The Gogs can take heart from their previous encounter with Ponty this season, where they produced an outstanding display to come away with a resounding 47-17 victory at Parc Eirias in front of a crowd of 3,000.
Following the final, RGC travel to Ponty in their final top flight game of the season on May 6, with just one point separating the playoff chasing sides.
A host of former pupils are expected to be named in the squad, with the likes of Mei Parry, Joe Simpson, Sam Jones and Efan Jones all featuring heavily this term.
In addition current pupil and Wales U18 international Dan Owen has also made a number of senior squad appearances as he continues his meteoric rise to prominence.
Player-coach Phil John, said: “Everyone is looking forward to it and it is a great opportunity for the last to show what they are made of on the big stage.
“I think they have overachieved in terms of what we were expecting from them in their first season, and to make the top eight and reach the cup final is a fantastic achievement.
“They need to make sure that they impose themselves and make their presence felt. It is a game that has gathered a lot of interest throughout North Wales, which shows just how much the game is growing in the region.
“Mark and the coaching staff have set them a target of winning every remaining game so that we can also get into the playoff spots, but they have done brilliantly to reach the final and it should be a fantastic occasion.”