For Llandovery skipper Jack Jones, Sunday will be an emotional moment as he will try and emulate his late grandfather Brian Thomas  who was in the first ever Cup final in 1972 when the Welsh All Blacks beat Llanelli 15-9 writes Huw S Thomas by kind permission of the Brecon and Radnor Express

Thomas won 21 caps for Wales 1963-1969 and gained the reputation of being a fearsome and feared lock for Neath and country.

52 years later, his grandson and fellow lock Jack has his chance to continue the family tradition of Cup final appearances and also follow in the footsteps of father and flanker Robin Jones  who played in the Neath side that lost 29-22 to Pontypridd  in the 1996 final.

31 year old son Jack will be hoping for a winner’s medal in Sunday’s final against Merthyr, true reward for outstanding service to Llandovery and the Welsh Premiership since his debut for the Drovers in 2017.

The Drovers will be going for their third WRU Challenge Cup title when they take on Merthyr at the Principality Stadium.

They will try and emulate the class of 2007 and 2016 and join level with Newport, Swansea and Bridgend as three times winners.

In 2007 Llandovery left it late to beat Cardiff 20-18 with a try by prop Endaf Howells and in 2016 overcame local rivals Carmarthen Quins 25-18.

Merthyr are also past winners of the Cup when they beat Newport 41-7 back in 2018.

In its time the Challenge Cup – first played for in 1972 – has had many sponsors and titles.

When Neath were the first winners in 1972, it was called the WRU Challenge Cup, then renamed  the Schweppes Cup, Swalec Cup, WRU Challenge Cup, Principality Cup, Konica Minolta Cup, Swalec Cup, SSE Swalec Cup, WRU National Cup, Specsavers National Cup and currently the Indigo Premiership Cup.

Llandovery won the Konica Minolta Cup in 2007 and the Swalec Cup in 2026 and now challenge for the Indigo premiership Cup.

On current form, the Drovers must be counted favourites on April 7 – despite the recent 24-6 league set back at Newport – having lost just two of their 21 league matches.

They have already done the league double over the Ironmen of Merthyr, winning 38-12 at Church Bank and 20-10 at The Wern.

To get to the final Llandovery had a bye in the opening round before routing Aberavon 58-3 and Ebbw Vale 43-7 on their way to the Principality show down.

Merthyr had a more difficult passage to the final with three close games against Pontypridd (30-27), Carmarthen Quins (39-24) and Swansea (23-17) but will enjoy going into the final as underdogs.

These have been trying times for the Ironmen who lost coach Rowland Phillips in mid season and controversially did not apply for membership of next season’s Elite League.

Have no doubt that the powerful Merthyr pack will  be up and ready for the challenge and if Llandovery are to win then their forwards will need to gain parity and allow the free flowing back division to show its talents.

It could be closer than what people – and bookmakers  who quote Llandovery at a ridiculously prohibitive 1/16 – are bold to predict.