What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
Neath coach Gareth Llewellyn, the 92 times capped lock who played international rugby in three different decades and under eight different coaches, was full of praise for the Llandovery performance. “The Drovers are a really classy side – perhaps the most entertaining in the Premiership and outplayed us in all departments.”
Llewellyn was also astonished that Llandovery scrum half Rhodri Davies, who scored three brilliant tries against them, was still playing in the Premiership. “This guy was fantastic and how he is not playing at a higher level is a complete mystery,” said Llewellyn. “We had no answer to his acceleration and speed.”
With just three games left before the January two way split to the 16 strong league, this was an important win for mid-table Llandovery
With two away games to come and just one at home, it will be an anxious holiday break for the Drovers before they play their next league match against Carmarthen Quins at the Park on Boxing Day.
There are no fewer than 11 sides chasing the top eight places but coaches Euros Evans, Simon Davies and Gareth Potter are looking no further than that game at the Park.
“It was a vital win today,” said Davies, “but all the next games will be real challenges and we will have to play well to clinch a top eight place given the number of teams still in contention.”
An all Scarlets front row of Dylan Evans, Daf Hughes and Pete Edwards bolstered the home forward effort and with the influential Rhodri Davies back on duty at scrum half, Neath were up against it from the start when hugely talented hooker Hughes twisted through tackles for an early try. It was converted by fly half Jack Maynard who finished with seven conversions out of eight as well as a try, for a 19 point haul.
After moving the ball wide at every opportunity, Llandovery led 21-7 at the break after two more tries from centre Rhodri Jones and the dashing Davies.
Young Neath centre Kieran Williams punished Llandovery extravagance with a try but the Drovers swept in for five tries after the break – two to Davies, two to centre Craig Woodall and one to Maynard.
Neath got one very good try through wing Aaron Grabham after a raft of replacements had checked home momentum but were out on their feet by the end.