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Preview: The British & Irish Cup final

23 April 2012

  • Cross Keys' first season in the British & Irish Cup
  • 2009-10 runners-up Munster clear favourite for home final
Billy Holland, Munster's British & Irish Cup captain 

Photo: Billy Stickland - Inpho Photography

While Cross Keys’ hopes of making the end of season play-offs in the Welsh Premiership are now over, the Gwent village club is still on course for a cup double as they approach their first British & Irish Cup final.

By the time they step out at the Millennium Stadium for the Swalec Cup final against Pontypridd on May 7th, Keys will hope to have already bagged their first piece of major silverware: the British & Irish Cup. Greg Woods’s outfit has performed magnificently in its maiden season to qualify for the final – the first involving a Welsh side in the competition‘s short history.

Munster A stand between them and glory and the Irish side will undoubtedly start favourites at Musgrave Park on Friday night. Home advantage earns them that right, plus the showpiece game comes at the end of a busy week for their opponents with this being Cross Keys’ third game in six days.

Cross Keys lost only once en route to the final – a 3-30 defeat against Cornish Pirates, the inaugural winners, on December 18th, 2011. But they went on to avenge that defeat in the semi-final, beating the English Championship side 20-16 on a famous afternoon at Pandy Park.

Munster A, who are appearing in their second final having lost to the Pirates in 2010, have not played together in a competitive fixture since seeing off Irish rivals Leinster in a thrilling semi-final that was only decided in extra-time. Their only defeat in the competition this season also came against the Pirates on the opening weekend.