Ystalyfera make Welsh RL history


Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Ystalyfera have become the first ever Welsh speaking side to reach a National Rugby League Final after beating fellow Welsh speaking school Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni 42-18 in the semi-final of the Year 10 Champions Schools competition at The Gnoll in Neath.

They will take on Outwood Grange School from Wakefield at a new venue, Bradford Bulls’ Odsal Stadium, on Thursday 23rd August, moved from London due to clashes with the Olympics.

The match also doubled up as the Welsh Final, which has been postponed due to rain a few weeks before and it gave this Ystalyfera side their second successive title after beating the same Cwm Rhymni side 30-28 in last year’s Year 9 Welsh Final, a game that became famous for being the first ever Rugby League game to feature 100% Welsh speakers.

Ystalyfera now become only the fourth Welsh side in history to reach a National Champions Schools Final.

The scoring in this exciting encounter was tit for tat in the opening stages of the game until the Swansea valley school let rip just before half-time and continued to express their dominance after the interval.

Ystalyfera opened the scoring on five minutes with a try in the corner by Curtis Davies.

But Cwm Rhymni struck back as Lewis Alexander scored under the sticks converting it himself to give them a 6-4 lead.

A mistake from kick-off let Ystalyfera a scrum and they made no mistake as a result with Keiron Williams going over. Luc Williams converted to put them 10-6 up.

The lead changed hands again when Alexander twisted his way past the defence for his second which Alexander goaled to make the score 12-10.

But that was the last time Cwm Rhymni had the lead. Conor Davies went under the sticks following a fine passing move which Williams converted, then Curtis Davies ran down the wing for an excellent try which Luc Williams converted to make the score 22-12 at half-time.

They extended their lead further at the start of the second half when Keiron Williams scored in the corner from the very first set. Luc Williams converted to make the score 28-12.

Alex Malgat forced his way over for Ystalyfera’s sixth try before Dafydd Rees got a try back for Cwm Rhymni with Alexander converting to make the score 32-18.

But man of the match Keiron Williams completed his hat-trick which Luc Williams converted before Conor Davies ripped through the defence to complete the scoring.

The Welsh schools final trophy was presented to them by Laurence Harris from Daioni, one of Wales Rugby League’s leading sponsors and manufacturers of the UK’s best tasting and the UK’s first and only organic flavoured milk drink.

Ystalyfera coach Ioan Bebb, a former Wales Rugby League Student International said: “We’re absolutely delighted to get through to the national final. We’re all really proud of the boys for getting this far and we can’t wait for August and to play on the famous Bradford Bulls stadium.”


The Year 7 Final between the same two schools had the same outcome, a win for Ystalyfera.

Tiaan Jones led the way with a first half hat-trick. That, plus one for Ben Lukes gave them an early 16-0 lead before a try back for Cwm Rhymni came from Matthew Bradbury who scored in the corner to make the score 16-4.

Eli Shuffley sprinted his way through for Cwm Rhymni’s second try which Ben Jones converted to make the score 16-10 at half-time.

Ystalyfera were first of the board in the second half when Jones scored his fourth from close range and captain Iwan Shenton converted to make the score 22-10.

Steffan Lupton quickly followed him over and Shenton converted to build a 16-point lead.

But straight out of the textbook, Cwm Rhymni had the last say as Morgan Jones caught a cross-filed kick to make the final score 28-14.