Ebbw Vale will try to claim a fourth Premiership scalp when they take on treble-chasing Cross Keys in the semi-finals of the Swalec Cup. Newbridge’s reward for beating UWIC at the Welfare Ground last weekend is a last-four clash with tournament favourites Pontypridd. Vale, who have a comfortable lead as they attempt to retain their Division One East crown, have already beaten Newport at Rodney Parade and Carmarthen Quins and Swansea at Eugene Cross Park. Fly-half Dorian Jones’ big boot was key in beating the pair of west Walians and now they will be looking for a Gwent derby success that would seal a place in the final at the Millennium Stadium.
But Neil Edwards’ side will need to produce their best performance of the campaign against a Keys side that are the success story of the season. The Pandy Park outfit are in the mix for the Premiership title and will host Cornish Pirates in a British and Irish Cup semi-final the week before taking on the Steelmen. Keys knocked out Cardiff in the quarter-final at Pandy Park and they will be hoping that Dean Gunter, who amassed 22 points in that 37-24 win, will stay on top form.
Coach Greg Woods is looking forward to the meeting, declaring: “We won’t be underestimating Ebbw Vale as they have been doing well in Division One. We have had a really good cup run and now we have a Gwent derby in the semi-final which should be really exciting.”
Keys will start as slight favourites but the odds will be much bigger in the other encounter where ’Bridge would cause the upset of all upsets if they knocked out Ponty. But Newbridge gave Pontypridd an almighty scare when they hosted them back in 2007 and if they fail to make it to the final then it won’t be down to a lack of effort. The venues for the two semi-finals, which are to be played on the weekend of April 14, are expected to be confirmed shortly.
Semi-final draw: Cross Keys v Ebbw Vale; Pontypridd v Newbridge