by Tom Walker
Ahead of their final game of the season, the Cardiff Ladies rugby team were unbeaten in the Western 1A. Following a 36-41 opening victory against Cambridge back in October, Cardiff went on to blitz the rest of the league, only conceding above double digits once in their remaining fixtures. Coming into their last match with the league title wrapped up, the aim was simply to win and be lauded with the illustrious unbeaten crown. The team standing in their way were, of course, Welsh rivals, Swansea.
‘We were nervous coming into the game’ said team captain Liliana Podpadec, ‘Swansea away is always one of the biggest games of the season’ and with what was at stake, this one had a bit more riding on it. The previous matchup between these two saw Cardiff win by a monstrous 39 points to zero, but with a few absences to front row mainstays, including Podpadec, this one promised to be a closer affair.
However, this was far from the case as Cardiff came away victorious, putting 41 points past their old foes whilst only conceding one try at the other end.
‘We had a lot of great talent come in at the start of the year which brought the intensity in training and on the field up, and in turn has made it more competitive for positions’ Podpadec explained.
She also believes consistency, both of players and of the style of play, has been key for Cardiff’s on-field success too.
The next big test for Cardiff however is the small matter of varsity, set to take place on the 29th of April. The Cardiff Ladies rugby team have not won the matchup since 2016, but they will feel this year is their best chance of retaining that title.
The thought of last year’s match up will undoubtedly be in the minds of those who competed. With a minute left on the clock, Swansea bundled over the line to win it 30-27 at the death at the Principality Stadium.
‘It was a really bad end to the game last year, but now we feel we are in a better place to show what we can do.’
Given the combined score of 80-7 over the two league meetings, Cardiff should be confident, but Podpadec does not think it will be that simple.
‘Swansea always step it up, we never know what to expect come varsity… In my first year we beat Swansea twice (in the league) but when it came to varsity, they were a totally different outfit.’
Regardless of the result on April 29, it has been an unbelievable season for Cardiff’s Ladies rugby team, however given their current form and phenomenal ability they will expect nothing less than to dispatch Swansea like they have done throughout the season.