venue: Slavia Prague, Prague
5th September 2008
Full Match Report
U18 EUROPEAN CUP FINAL
Two tries from loose forward and man of the match Rhys Williams, taking his tally to seven touchdowns over the tournament, saw Wales crowned European under-18 Champions in Prague. The Dragons defeated defending champions France 38-24 in a terrific final at RC Slavia, having withstood a late fight back from the French.
The well organised Welsh, based predominantly around the Celtic Crusaders Colts, overpowered their opponents, with Rhys Williams posting the first points with a try in the second minute. Alexis Falip cut the deficit with a penalty but prop Gil Dudson put the Welsh further in front with a barnstorming effort.
Winger Steven Gongora hit back at the quarter way mark but Rhys Williams - who played the opening two matches at centre - made it 14-6 with his second touchdown. A Jamie Tibbs penalty and Dalton Grant try had the Welsh cruising but Paul Barbaza cut the deficit on the stroke of half time, Alexis Alberola converting.
Tibbs kicked a penalty two minutes into the second half and the extras to a Gary Williams touchdown in the 52nd minute and although winger Grant grabbed his brace, his feat was matched by French centre Damien Cardace to set up terrific finish. The expansive French put concerted pressure on the Welsh line but it held firm and with the final kick of the contest, Tibbs kicked a penalty to the delight of the Dragons entourage.
Crusaders' Colts coach Dan Clements spoke proudly of his players who have represented Wales this week. "To play three games in five days is tough to start with," he said. "But to beat countries of the calibre of England on Wednesday and France today just shows how far we've come as a nation. I'm immensely proud of all of our players and our coach Stuart Williams, all of whom have done so well out there."
Kriss Wilkes, Dalton Grant, Gary Williams, Jamie Tibbs, Ryan Healy, Dafydd Carter, Mark Wool, Gil Dudson, Kyle Blackmore, Terry Saunders, Joe Burke, Ross Waddell, Rhys Williams. Subs: Steve Williams, Owain Griffiths, Tom Beaumont, Sam Powell
Alexis Falip, Maxime Peault, Pierre Louis Bourrel, Damien Cardace, Steven Gongora, Damien Jacquet, Alexis Alberola, Theo Boneriez, Romain Vigroux, Andrew Bigat, Leo Baixas, Marc Meye, Thibaud Margalet. Subs: Anthony Deleigne, Paul Barbaza, Mounir El-Jaghmati, Maxime Berca