What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
Llandovery beat the North Walians for the second time in three games this season despite being outscored by four tries to three at Church Bank writes Huw S Thomas.
It took a last gasp penalty from fly half Jack Maynard in the 88th and final minute to gain this very narrow win in a hugely entertaining game between two of the Premiership’s most attacking minded teams.
The Drovers had won 31-10 in August but lost 24-7 in Colwyn Bay in October and this success takes them up the table from eighth to fifth with four more games left to play.
RGC - coached by ex Builth, Llandovery, Llanelli and Wales wing Mark Jones - had to be content with two losing bonus points but the defeat put a virtual end to their chance of catching leaders Merthyr.
“That was a close run thing” said winning coach Euros Evans after seeing Maynard put over an angled penalty with the last kick of the game.
“We have had some really exciting games with RGC over the years and this was just as entertaining and a credit to the Premiership”
“There are doubters over the impact of the Premiership but the WRU can be confident that this competition is in rude health if this is anything to go by”
“It was most encouraging to see our young front row of Dexter Thomas, Dafydd Hughes and Berian Watkins stand up well to the pressure as did replacements 19 year old Llyr Green and 21 year old Jamie Hughes - so it’s a good boost for the club’s future.”
It was RGC who took the lead when Alex Schwarz broke blind from a scrum before feeding wing Afon Bagshaw who returned the favour by sending his scrum half racing clear.
The Drovers refused an easy kick at goal only to be kept out by good RGC defence but soon after fly half Jack Maynard put over a straight penalty to make it 5-3.
The dangerous Schwarz squeezed through a narrow gap for his second try, converted by a hobbling Jacob Botica but the Drovers replied immediately with a sweeping attack which ended with centre Rhodri Jones dummying over.
Maynard converted to bring the Drovers to within two points at the interval in the predictably tight contest.
With Botica off the field injured and prop Sam Wainwright sin-binned, RGC conceded a penalty to Maynard and it got worse for the visitors when wing Lee Williams dummied through for another converted try and a 20-12 home lead.
Llandovery replacement lock Bryn Griffiths was yellow carded for a high tackle and RGC replacement Jordan Scott burst through for a try, converted by another replacement Dan Cross.
RGC got the bonus point try through flanker Will Bryan, converted by Cross, but when No 8 Tim Grey was yellow carded under his own posts, Llandovery soon scored another try by hooker Dafydd Hughes.
Another yellow for RGC lock Robin Williams put huge pressure on the defence and Maynard kept his cool to slot the winning penalty with the very last kick of the game.
Tries – R Jones, L Williams, D Hughes; Cons – J Maynard (2); Pens – J Maynard (3)
Tries – A Schwarz (2), D Cross, W Bryan; Cons – J Botica, D Cross (2)
*** Second placed Carmarthen Quins are the visitors to Church Bank on Saturday for what is bound to be a rousing Tywi Valley derby (KO 2 30 pm)