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Wru.co.uk 2002 Review

Wru.co.uk 2002 Review


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Llanelli set the pulses racing as they did the double over English opposition in the Heineken Cup. First a crucial victory over Leicester Tigers at Stradey Park, and then a hard fought Heineken Cup quarter-final victory over Bath. Victory at The Recreation Ground not only won them the Rag Doll, but also set up another clash with the Tigers.

Those results had the whole of Wales believing the Scarlets might go all the way to the Millennium Stadium and become champions of Europe.

Stephen Jones scored all the points in both games – improving his international reputation and putting him pole position for the Wales No.10 jersey for the upcoming Six Nations.

Pontypridd were doing well in Europe as well, a close victory over Saracens saw the Valley Commandoes into the PARKER PEN SHIELD semi-finals.

Newport find themselves top of the Welsh/Scottish Division.


Graham Henry reached the end of the line after Wales were hammered in Ireland. The following day fellow New Zealander Steve Hansen stepped in to become Wales coach.

Aberavon went to the ‘Gallows’ in an attempt to out gun Cardiff in the Principality Cup.

Wales would have beaten France were it not for a brilliant tackle by Aurelian Rougerie on Dafydd James as the Welsh wing went for the corner in the seventh minute of injury time in a thrilling game in Cardiff.

In the Welsh/Scottish League, Newport and Llanelli were jockeying for position at the top of the table.


Wales recorded a Six Nations victory over Italy. but lost to England.

Michael Hook marked his Wales Under 21 debut by scoring 21 points and steering his side to a fourth successive Six Nations Under 21 Championship victory over England at Newbury…

The UWIC women’s rugby team put a smile back on the face of Welsh rugby as they won the British Universities Halifax title at Twickenham in convincing style against reigning champions Loughborough…Wales youth played well at the 34th World Junior Championship.

In the Welsh/Scottish League, Newport were on fire running in nine tries to stun Glasgow as they marched back to the top of the Welsh/Scottish League at Rodney Parade,

Graham Henry left Wales to take up a coaching post in New Zealand


Llanelli’s Heineken Cup dream ended in agony as they were beaten in a never-to-be-forgotten semi final in Nottingham by a last minute penalty goal from Tim Stimpson that bounced off the upright and cross bar before going over . . . OUCH! But they are through to the final of the Principality Cup.

Brett Davey was the toast of Pontypridd as his boot steered them to the final of the Principality Cup with a last gasp semi-final victory over Cardiff at the Millennium Stadium and a triumph over London Irish in Reading in the PARKER PEN SHIELD semis

The business end of the Welsh/Scottish League approached and a hat-trick of tries from Wales wing Mark Jones ensured Llanelli stayed at the top of the Welsh/Scottish League

But it’s all going wrong for Newport

Newport defeated Swansea to win the BT Dragons Rugby Trust National Youth League title.


Cardiff comes alive as the Millennium Stadium holds a string of top events. Brett Davey holds his nerve and slots an 85th minute penalty goal that sees Pontypridd lift the Principality Cup for only the second time in their history under the closed roof. It was heartbreak again for the Scarlets, although they held their nerve to win the Welsh/Scottish league at Cardiff thanks to a last gasp penalty from Stephen Jones.

And the Heineken Cup final rolled into the Welsh capital. A record 74,600 crowd gathered at the Millennium Stadium to see Leicester Tigers become the first team to defend the European crown after a rare old battle with Munster.

But Pontypridd were unable to beat Sale Sharks in the PARKER PEN SHIELD final, going down 25-22.


Wales headed to South Africa for a two-Test tour and almost came up trumps in Bloemfontein in the first Test. The Boks managed to battle back to win 34-19 and then took the series with a 19-8 win in Durban.

Michael Owen became the 1,000th player to wear the red jersey and Colin Charvis established himself as the Welsh captain.


The summer transfer season got into full swing – Cardiff snapped up scrum-half Richard Smith, Paul Clapham moved from Bridgend to Llanelli, and the ‘Ginger Monster’, Neil Jenkins, returned to Pontypridd.

And there were new club captains – Mefin Davies took over at Sardis Road, Martyn Williams at Cardiff, and Leigh Davies for Llanelli.

Former Wales captain Rob Howley left the Blue and Blacks to try his luck in the Zurich Premiership with Wasps and Craig Quinnell headed to Saracens. Another former Welsh captain and Cardiff stalwart, Jon Humphreys, went to Bath.

There were also a number of changes in coaching personnel. Leigh Jones and Richard Hill took over from Ian McIntosh at Newport, Dai Young became player/coach at Cardiff after Rudi Joubert returned to South Africa and Wales A coach Dennis John took over at Llanharan.

Gordon Pritchard quit as director of rugby at Premiership basement side Caerphilly, leaving Mark Ring to fly solo.


A Welsh team won for the first time at Auckland’s Eden Park as the Wales Deaf team became World Champions as they beat New Zealand for the second time in the tournament to take the title.

Alan Phillips became Wales’ first full-time manager as he quit his day job to concentrate all his efforts on the team.

With the experience of Jason Forster and Rob Howley in the Wales sevens side at the Commonwealth Games, Wales progressed to the cup quarters where they lost 24-0 to New Zealand, they missed out narrowly 7-5 in the Plate semi-finals to Australia. New Zealand took the title.

The Welsh Rugby Union shook up the European qualification system by unveiling a new points scheme that provided bonuses for reaching the knock out stages of the Celtic League, Heineken Cup and PARKER PEN tournaments, as well as for doing well in the Principality Cup


Newbridge outside half Jason Williams has booted himself into the record books by becoming the leading point’s scorer in Welsh domestic league history. Neath are looking good as the Celtic League kicks-off


It was a miserable opening two rounds for Welsh sides in the HeinekenCup

And the mood for chance was gathering momentum

Steve Hansen selects his squad for the BT Autumn International Series and he hands Pontypridd pair Gethin Jenkins and Sonny Parker their Wales debuts for their Test victory over Romania at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham. And the WRU signed a sponsorship deal with car giants Seat


The BT Autumn international series is in full swing, and Wales are playing well, a comfortable win over Fiji was followed up by a victory over Canada. The mighty Quinn retired from international rugby with tears in his – and our eyes after winning 52 caps for Wales. Messages of support came flooding in for ‘The Mighty Quinn ‘

And the All Blacks came to Cardiff and very nearly got beaten – clinical finishing in injury time giving them a flattering margin of victory.

The Women’s Welsh Rugby Union announced the signing of three major contracts for the sponsorship of the women and girls game in Wales. Users of the wru website sent messages of support to Gareth Edwards, voted the Greatest of the Welsh Greats

And in the Celtic League, the Golden Point was born


Cardiff and Neath keep the Welsh flag flying in the Celtic league…

And after a worldwide search, the new WRU group chief executive begins work, and outlines his views of the job he has ahead. Pontypool have a Christmas number 1

Martyn Williams received his award for BT man of the series for his performances in the BT Autumn Internationals

**But what was your moment of 2002 – Click here to have your say

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