Shellard wants victory in Final :: 29 Apr 18:58
Rhys Shellard wants to right some wrongs
Pontypridd flanker Rhys Shellard will be going all out to help his team to Welsh Cup glory on Sunday evening, and hoping to put a few wrongs to right in doing so.
Ponty take on Bridgend in the Cup Final showdown at the Millennium Stadium, and the dynamic back rower from Aberdare could be forgiven for dwelling on two encounters from the past as he focuses on the big match to come.
Coming from a renown rugby family, Shellard’s father Mike and his uncle Dai were in the Pontypridd squad that lost out to Bridgend in the Cup Final of 1979, going down by 18pts to 12. That defeat is now locked away like a skeleton in the family cupboard, but is one that Rhys would dearly like to avenge.
“That cup final defeat of ’79 is hardly ever mentioned in our house” said Shellard. “My old man doesn’t like to talk about it, probably because he was on the losing side. Its part of the family tradition along with other big games that he and my uncle played and of course I grew up on the stories of that era.”
Much rugby has been played since that occasion and Rhys, as one of the current generation of Ponty players, has another and much more recent defeat to Bridgend that needs to be redressed.
In claiming a fifth successive league championship, Pontypridd this season lost only one of twenty-two games played, and that was away to Bridgend.
“It could have been the perfect season but for that one defeat” said Shellard. "We didn’t turn up on the day and we were out-played by a good Bridgend team who showed just what they are capable of.
“That hurt and is still on our minds, its definitely one that needs to be put right. We can’t take Bridgend for granted on Sunday – we did in the league match and we came off second best. "
As a senior member of the Ponty squad, who is set to feature in his fourth cup final for the club, Shellard is determined that a repeat of that recent Bridgend defeat will be avoided.
“We have plenty of motivation going into this game” said Shellard. “There is a good spirit in the squad now and a good attitude. We can’t afford to slip up twice against the same opponents. We are approaching this just like any other game, putting the big occasion out of our minds and focussing on the performance and the win.”
In a re-match of the 1979 Cup Final, Rhys Shellard and the Ponty class of 2015 are intent on re-writing history, and in doing so, making history of their own.