RGC claimed the win and a place in the WRU National Cup Final in dramatic fashion at Pontypridd, with an 80th minute Sam Jones try. As far as games go this is another to add to the “ones to remember” and players, coaches, supporters and tv viewers witnesses something special.
They were facing defeat minutes before when Merthyr took the lead with a Martyn Thomas try and Mathew Jarvis conversion.
Both sides have featured in epic clashes this season and the semi-final reached new highs for the Gogs.
Each team looked to gain some attacking leverage in the opening 5 minutes and it was a tale of knock ons from RGC and Merthyr when they had opportunities to run the ball.
First score went to RGC when the boot of Jacob Botica nailed a penalty from the halfway line.
Merthyr then gained more control of the game with some lively attacking runs, and RGC were doing well to put the tackles in at key moments. Josh Leach was working hard at the breakdown, making sure the Ironmen couldn’t get further than the 22 meter line.
Jarvis missed a penalty but made amends minutes later with a simple kick to even the scores.
RGC needed to get some possession but the line-out was miss-firing which wasn’t helping the Gogs.
Full-back Afon Bagshaw continued his attacking form with a huge 40 yard run including some powerful hand offs to chasing tacklers, and that moment sparked his side and supporters.
Bagshaw was key to the first try, when his run and pass set up Carwyn ap Myrddin to touch down on his 100th RGC appearance. Botica kicked the conversion.
RGC were now looking more confident and they were using the ball better as well, both in hand and also kicking behind the Merthyr backline to push then back.
Clearly Botica was also full of confidence as he opted for a huge 50 yard penalty but it dropped short.
The 2nd try came on the halftime whistle after some good phase play, the ball was given to Botica and he broke the defence to go over and convert.
Merthyr came out the blocks in the 2nd half and it was no surprise when the crossed the whitewash with James Howe scoring, with Jarvis converting
RGC were having some good possession but making the wrong decisions at times, when Botica and Bagshaw kicked ahead when perhaps keeping the ball was needed.
The next score was looking like a crucial one but Botica missed a couple of penalty chances and Merthyr were still in the game.
The boot of Jarvis was pushing them forward with a couple of touch finder kicks and then a penalty to bring them 4 points closer.
RGC needed to make some of the possession count but when they looked like getting a break they couldn’t keep hold of the ball.
Bagshaw and Ap Myrddin both made some darts down the line but were tackled and as the clock reached 76 minutes Merthyr took the lead with the Thomas try and Jarvis conversion to make it 20 -17 to the Ironmen.
When composure was needed the RGC players found it as they worked the field before Sam Jones turned on the gas to sprint in at the corner. Botica’s conversion sailed over and history was made with a first trip to the Principality Stadium.
FT: RGC 24 Merthyr 20
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