What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
The Drovers went through to the quarter finals of the Swalec Cup with this comfortable albeit far from impressive win over Championship side Swansea.
They stayed on course to emulate their Cup run of 2007 which culminated with the defeat of Cardiff 20-18 at the Millennium Stadium. But on this form they will be hard pressed to make another final, such was their looseness in attack and failure to exploit the lion’s share of possession and territory.
The All Whites last beat Llandovery as far back as August 2010 and rarely threatened to stop the losing run despite their solid effort up front.
“We were happy with our effort but Llandovery had too much gas behind,” said Swansea President Stan Addicot. “We take comfort from the way we matched them up front but we will need to expand and develop behind if we are to get back to the Premiership,” said the former Swansea coach.
Llandovery coach Lyndon Lewis took an opportunity to give game time to a lot of fringe players once the Drovers established a 31-6 with nearly half an hour to go. Promising players in fly half Steffan Marshall, scrum half Josh Guy and back row Richie Rees were all given the chance to impress but the many replacements thrown on affected rhythm and tempo so that the last quarter was lifeless, colourless and error strewn.
There was a quite strange mixture of personnel on and off the Church Bank pitch. In the Llandovery squad were half a dozen players who were coached in Swansea schools by either Llandovery coach Lyndon Lewis or Team Manager Andrew Thomas, three students from Swansea University and a number of former Bonymaen and All Whites players, whilst Swansea had selected three former Drovers and four Llandovery College old boys to further confuse the issue.
Llandovery had the two best backs on the field in centre Rhodri Jones and fly half James Garland and it was Jones who took a terrific angle for the first try before Garland – in a rich vein of form - slipped over wide out.
Scrum half Lee Rees also crossed and Swansea’s only reply was two penalties from full back Nicky Thomas to leave it at 19-6 at the break.
When tries from prop Greg Cunniffe and hooker Tom Ball made it 31-6 early in the third quarter, the All Whites were on the ropes but a combination of determined defence and Llandovery sloppiness saw a scoreless last half hour.