Cardiff day out pleases South Wales

Rugby league came to rugby union fortress Cardiff Arms Park at the weekend, when the South Wales Scorpions beat London Skolars 19-18 on Sunday.

The day was a real festival of rugby league, with the Gwendraeth Valley Raiders beating Valley Cougars A 50-32 to qualify for the Welsh Conference play-off, in an appetiser for the main event.

South Wales’ under 19s also thrashed their London counterparts 54-10, in another game held on the day.

For the senior Scorpions side, it was their first win in Wales for over a year. Scorpions head coach Mike Grady was delighted with the way the whole day turned out, with some enthusiastic backing for his team coming from the passionate crowd.

“It was different today,” he said.

“The crowd were behind us and all singing. They talk about an 18th man and we had that at home for the first time this season.

“A couple of players said that when we were 18-12 down, the crowd, especially the Valley Cougars players, were very vocal and kept us in the game.

“In all it’s been a great day. Hopefully they can buy into it at Maesteg for our next home game as well and we can get another win.”

Taking the game to the Arms Park is also something which might well be repeated next season, according to Grady.

“I’d like to thank our sponsors Cardiff International Pool operated by Parkwood Leisure, who I understand were very pleased with how the whole day panned out and are looking to take another match, perhaps more than one, back to Cardiff Arms Park next year,” he explained.

One man who was heavily involved in the day was Scorpions stand-off Paul Emanuelli. He is also the assistant coach at his club, and the head coach of the Valley Cougars.

His drop goal four minutes from time clinched the win for the Scorpions, and he was delighted with the way the crowd involved themselves in the whole occasion.

“We’re extremely happy with the way the day went,” he said.

“Playing in the capital, our first venture down here was exciting. It’s a fabulous ground and we had fabulous support. I have to give a mention to the Cougars players and fans who were like the 18th man for the Scorpions today and lifted us when we were down.

“It was the biggest and loudest crowd all year and that makes a difference.

“The biggest thing today we had from a Scorpions team perspective was belief in ourselves. We haven’t changed any personnel, if anything with Connor Farrer out we were scraping for a side.

“I have to give a special mention to Shaun Owens who played with a broken rib, he was amazing out there.

“I’m sure Wales Rugby League were pleased with how the day went as well. It was nice of chairman Brian Juliff to come into the changing room and speak to the lads afterwards. Going forward the whole day is something we can build on.”

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