What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
After the 47-24 bonus point win against Bargoed in mid week the Drovers again claimed full points with this four tries to three win over the All Whites at sunny St Helen's writes Huw S Thomas.
It proved to be a great day for centre Rhodri Jones – quick, alert and intelligent - who scored a hat trick of tries to confirm his status as one of the Premiership’s leading three-quarters.
It was the first Premiership hat trick by a Drover since scrum half Rhodri Davies scored three scintillating tries in the 54-12 win over Neath in December 2016.
Llandovery’s fourth five point haul in the last five games sees them climb to third place in the Premiership on 58 points in the knowledge that a bonus point win over Llanelli in the final game on Saturday will claim the runners up spot.
Pontypridd have already finished on 62 points so the Drovers will have to win and score four tries or more against the Sospans to finish second.
It will not be an easy task as the WRU’s physical and ridiculous demands of asking Llandovery’s non professionals to play 13 games in 56 days are taking their toll.
Defence coach Gareth Potter is seeing it at first hand.
“The boys are running on empty at the moment and are having to dig up huge reserves of energy.” said Potter.
“They made hard work of putting away Swansea but that said the All Whites are a far better team than their league position suggests.”
“We produced some excellent rugby in getting another full haul of points and so did Swansea who pushed us all the way.”
Team Manager Andrew Jones echoed Potter’s words.
“There was an end of season feel to the match but both sides looked to play in the wider channels, sharing possession and territory in a tight game.”“As the game went into the last quarter our set piece got on top so that was probably the difference between the sides.”“It was great to finish the week off with our third win in seven days, it's been tough and we dug in yesterday for the victory.”“A lot of the boys will be looking forward to the summer break but will be up for our last game against improved Llanelli with a runners up spot to play for.”
It was not until four minutes from time that the Drovers claimed the bonus point when skipper and No 8 Richard Brooks finished off pressure on the Swansea line by crashing over to crown a fine leadership performance from the former Bonymaen player.
Up to then it had been nip and tuck with the sides sharing six converted tries in the predictably open encounter.
A hat trick of tries from Rhodri Jones, all converted by fly half Jack Maynard had been matched by tries from flanker Jon Vaughan, scrum half Rhodri Wells and former Llandovery fly half James Davies who added three conversions.
The coup de grâce was then administered by the skipper whose consistency, competitiveness and leadership have been key factors in a highly successful Llandovery season.