5 May 2017

The best of Madrid and Valencia will face each other again, this time in the fourth AERL Grand Final this weekend when Custodians Getafe take on Tigres Torrent on Saturday, 6 May at Quatre Carreres, Valencia (kick off 4pm). The teams have already met twice in finals this year, Custodians taking the Supercopa back to the capital, 38-10, and Tigres the Challenge Cup, 28-24.

For Custodians, it is their third Grand Final in as many years, having won one and lost one, and their coach, Juanlu Mudarra said: “We have never gone into a final as favourites and this will be no different, but we have  every intention of creating an upset.

“We know that it will be a very tough match, there will be little room for error and our opponents have everything in front of them. However, we know how to beat them and we are travelling with just that intention.”

From the Tigres camp, player/coach Aitor Dàvila cannot wait for the match to come round. “I feel that this final has arrived at just the right time for us,” he acknowledged.  “The guys have made a real effort all along this three-year road that we have taken together, and the fruits of that labour are really apparent in our game right now.  The lads have a good understanding of the game and I am confident that they will put in a solid performance no matter what the outcome. Custodians are a big rival and it’s always a pleasure to play against a team of their ability and standing with the likes of Toni Puerta, Dani Moreno and Tity Fouteu in their ranks, among others.”

In their last regular season match in Madrid a fortnight ago, Custodians edged home 42-32 in a thriller.

In the build up to the game, a number of the most talented young players attended an U21s national camp in Carlet. As well as an opposed match, those involved took part in four practical sessions as well as physical preparation and nutrition seminars from national team trainer Tony Palacios, and a mental preparation workshop with psychologist Diego Ruano.

Dani Morales, a member of Tigres, noted: “You spend a lot more time with your team mates which means you get to know them all a lot better, something which I feel is key and is reflected later on when you’re on the field together. It also gives you the chance to draw more from the coaching staff, because although there is a great deal of information to take on-board throughout the camp, be it technical, tactical or something that has come up in a theory session, they are available to help out.”

For his part, new addition Fran Garcia from Custodians also saw significant benefit, calling it: “A great experience with great team mates, all of whom are working towards a single goal with the same passion.”

In closing the camp, U21s head coach Andrew Pilkington said that he was happy with the overall performance and focus of the players involved. “We were able to get through an enormous amount of work in less than 48 hours and that is thanks to the attitude and commitment of the players and staff involved,” he said. “These guys have set a standard for the group now and hopefully it can build a solid pathway to our future as a sport.”

Pictured: Torrent celebrating last season's victory.