What the Papers Say – Huw S Thomas reports
The Drovers duly completed a very hard fought double over Swansea after having shaded the game at St Helen’s back in November by 16-14 writes Huw S Thomas
They made hard work of this latest win against a spoiling pack that slowed down possession with a huge and aggressive commitment at the contact area.
The wind played a big factor in the game as did the second half red card for Swansea prop Greg Cunniffe.
With the wind behind them in the second half, the All Whites – inexplicably playing in an all red kit – had come back from an interval score of 14-0 to 14-10 before the sending off of the burly Cunniffe put paid to their revival.
The All Whites have not beaten the Drovers in Cup or league since August 2010 and this latest win made it a remarkable 19th consecutive win for the Carmarthenshire side.
They remain in fourth place in the Premiership but their overall performance was short of the form they showed in beating both Carmarthen Quins and Merthyr.
There were some good individual performances – Rhodri Jones and Lee Rees behind the scrum, Stuart Worrall, Dino Dallavalle and Richard Brooks up front – but there was a lack of cohesion between backs and forwards.
The sharpness of recent weeks was absent and there was a lack of urgency in the close quarter exchanges, not helped by some mysterious decisions from an often confused referee who was in frequent consultation with his assistant referees.
“Not our best performance of the season” quipped coach Euros Evans “but it is a third consecutive win and keeps us neatly tucked in behind the top three.”
“Our next game this Friday at Aberavon who beat Cardiff on Saturday will be a real tester.”
Llandovery lost two early line outs in prime attacking positions and despite the advantage of the wind found it hard to make headway against a well organized, belligerent defence.
Swansea then lost Cunniffe for 10 minutes after a dangerous tackle on home prop Llyr Green and were under immediate pressure at the scrum.
Centre Rhodri Jones eventually made the breakthrough coming through on a short range angle to cross neat the posts, fly half Jack Maynard converting.
Swansea lost a close range attacking line out when home lock Morgan Jones pinched the throw but at the other end Llandovery lost yet another line out in the blustery wind.
Just as it looked that Swansea would go into the break only seven points adrift, the Drovers struck for their second try.
Sustained and patient pressure made space wide out for flanker Stuart Worrall to put wing Rhodri Wall inat the corner, Maynard hitting a grand conversion for a 14-0 lead.
Fly half James Davies – another former Drover – brought the score to 14-3 with a 49th minute penalty and then missed from long range as the All Whites pressed hard with the advantage of the wind.
A close range line out brought success for supporting hooker and yet another ex-Drover Matthew Moore and with Davies converting, the visitors were only four points adrift going into the last quarter.
Cunniffe’s second yellow for foul play ended his interest in the game on 62 minutes and there was further disappointment for Swansea when Davies hit the upright from 35 metres.
With the wind picking up noticeably, scrum half Matthew Aubrey kicked Swansea into a good position but a break and clever chistera back of the hand pass from Rhodri Jones sent supporting full back Llew Smith sweeping in for Llandovery’s third try, converted by centre Kristian Jones.
*** Llandovery return to league action on Friday night March 13 when they travel to third placed Aberavon.
Tries: R Jones, R Wall, L Smith
Cons: J Maynard (2), K Jones
Try: M Moore
Con: J Davies
Pen: J Davies
Llandovery: L Smith; R Wall, K Jones, Rhodri Jones, A Warren; J Maynard, L Rees; D Dallavalle, A Rees, L Green, Rhys Jones, M Jones, Powell, R Brooks (capt), S Worrall
Replacements: J Hughes, G Williams, B Watkins, L Ellis-Jones, O Davies, C Woodall, R Williams, D Land
Swansea: M Nagy; R Griffiths, G Rees, K Charles, B Cambriani; J Davies, M Aubrey, R Davies, O Thomas, G Cunniffe, M Dodd, J Williams (capt), R Thomas, C Davies, C Bowden
Replacements: D Howells, M Moore, A Dew, H Sutton, D Eager, C Morgans, P Jones, R Williams