What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
Llandovery’s third consecutive win of the season lifted them to the top of the Premiership’s West Conference.
The Drovers have now registered 14 points out of a possible 15 – a just reward for on-going impressive performances. With the surprise defeat of Aberavon by the Quins, and RGC’s win over Neath ,they are now the only undefeated side in the West Conference.
“We did not have the lion’s share of possession but we used the ball well and were outstanding in defence,” said coach Euros Evans. “We built up a good 19-0 lead - which included two outstanding tries from Joe Powell - and when down to 13 men in the last 10 minutes, everyone tackled to save their lives.”
“And the only way that the Sospans breached our line was from a finely angled cross kick from Billy McBryde which was well taken by replacement Ryan Davies lurking out wide.”
Llanelli Head of Rugby Phil Davies was quick to accept that Llandovery were the better side on the day. “They managed the game well, made better decisions with the ball in hand and their defence was outstanding in the latter stages when we had a numerical superiority. We have a very young squad and they will learn from the setback against a good side with experience in key areas.”
It was ironic that the Man of the Match was Llandovery lock Jack Jones who was released by the Scarlets some years ago but who has found a new life since joining the Drovers. His outstanding display of rugged second row graft would have made his grandfather – Neath and Wales lock Brian Thomas – very proud but there were other stand out Drovers.
All four back rowers used - Lewis Ellis-Jones, Duane Eager, Richard Brooks and Stuart Worrall – had the glint of battle in their eye throughout, lock Joe Powell was omnipresent whilst scrum half Lee Rees, 18 year old full back Tomi Lewis and centre Rhodri Jones looked players capable of a higher grade of rugby.
No 8 Tom Phillips battled hard for the home side alongside flanker Nathan Hart but there was little or no fluency between backs and forwards and the Drovers were worthy winners.
Tries from Joe Powell and Worrall built up a 12-0 Llandovery interval lead and when the rangy Powell took a sweet offload from Eager to grab his second try, the odds were very much on a Llandovery bonus point with 18 minutes to go.
But yellow cards for desperate Llandovery defenders in replacement prop Berian Watkins and Powell gave Llanelli the freedom for all out attack but they could only cross the try-line once in the face of well organised belligerence.