Penallta Seconds have been named inaugural WRU National Conference winners and team manager Paul Ansell feels the new competition has been “brilliant” for second XV rugby in Wales.
The new 10-team Conference was launched at the start of the season as part of a range of measures to invigorate second team rugby in Wales.
The teams were split into East and West divisions with the sides playing each other home and away.
The top two in each division – plus the best finishing third-placed team – were then placed into a new top tier for the second half of the campaign while the remaining sides would battle it out in tier two. The Conference teams were also entered into the WRU National Bowl.
The Pitmen won six of their eight games in the East section before picking up another four victories in the second phase, sealing glory with wins over Risca and Bargoed. In addition, Penallta 2nds also enjoyed a run to the last 16 of the Bowl.
“We’re big supporters of the Conference,” said Ansell. “It’s a brilliant thing for second team rugby, which is an important part of any club. We competed very well against some hard teams in both competitions.
“The games against our local rivals Bargoed really stand out as they are only up the road and a lot of the boys work and socialise together.
“But I’d say the best game for us was when we went down to Newcastle Emlyn; they were fantastic hosts and the welcome and reception we had down there was brilliant. They only had 13 or 14 players but, to their huge credit, still played the game.”
Ansell picked out captain Matthew Jackson, whose performances in the first half of the campaign elevated him to the first team, as well as club stalwarts Sean Powell and Andrew Powell for their outstanding contributions for the seconds.
• Report courtesy of WRU.