What the Papers Say – Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
Llandovery made it a remarkable 17th consecutive win over Swansea as they eased through to the semi-final of the WRU National Cup writes Huw S Thomas.
The Drovers had already competed a Premiership double over the All Whites and this third win of the season meant that Swansea have not won any game between the two sides since August 2010.
The Premiership game at Church Bank on March 8 had been far tighter than the 20-3 result might have suggested but Llandovery were full and deserved value for this Cup win in front of their biggest crowd of the season.
They had a slightly shaky start when they trailed 7-5 but then took a firm control up front to provide their ever dangerous backs – centres Ryan Evans and Rhodri Jones outstanding – the space they needed.
Five tries to one was a sound reflection on the game, to the delight of the Llandovery coaching staff.
“It’s a side growing in confidence “ said backs coach Simon Davies .
“Swansea threatened early on but the side kept its composure and when the chances came, took them well.”
“We are in the semi final of the Cup and everyone in the town is talking of a third Cup win following the successes of 2007 and 2016”
“ That is far away from our minds and whoever we draw in the semi finals – Merthyr, Cardiff or Pontypool – will be a very big test ”
Both Llandovery and Swansea were predictably keen to move the ball early on and nippy, elusive full back Gavin Thomas ended a sweeping home move to send centre Rhodri Jones racing in for the try.
Swansea replied from the restart when Llandovery failed miserably to cover the kick and let flanker Morgan Morris pick up and gallop in under the posts unhindered,
Fly half Steff Williams converted for the lead but a run up the left by wing Aaron Warren led to Swansea going off side in front of their posts and it allowed fly half Jack Maynard to kick a simple penalty.
Both Warren and Thomas looked dangerous in possession and kept the away defence at full stretch in a free flowing game.
Free flowing it might have been but both defences were well organized up to this point, so the loss to injury of skipper and No 8 Jon Fox came at the wrong moment for the Whites.
No sooner had Fox left than Llandovery took advantage of a slick front of the line out move for scrum half Lee Rees to race away up the touch line and make it 13-7 at the break.
The visitors mysteriously changed their entire front row at half time and as soon as they did they lost a prime scrum position in the face of Llandovery strength.
Up at the other end, it it was ever busy Llandovery hooker Ricky Guest who made his mark with a close range try from a driven line out.
Warren saved a certain Swansea try with a terrific cover tackle on fly half Williams and then was busy at the other scoring a fourth home try after a quick burst of acceleration from centre Ryan Evans.
Llandovery were now in full flow with back rowers Shaun Miles, Richard Brooks and the quire excellent Lewis Ellis-Jones dominating the loose.
They encamped in the Swansea half and then outflanked a tiring defence for the gangly Warren to grab his second try of the tie after a long pass from replacement Richard Williams.
Swansea had no answer to the fluidity of the home side and ended up well beaten by far the better side on the day.
Tries: A Warren (2), R Jones, L Rees, R Guest
Pen: J Maynard
Tries: M Morris
Con: S Williams
Llandovery: G Thomas; M Williams, R Evans (R Williams 70) , R Jones, A Warren; J Maynard (K Jones 73), L Rees (capt); J Hughes (D Dallavalle 60), R Guest (M Moore 70), B Watkins (L Green 60), R Jones, J Jones (M Jones 68), L Ellis-Jones, R Brooks (capt) (E Price 68). S Worrall (S Miles h/t)
Swansea: R Rhys Williams (G Rees 60); A Claypole, T Williams, J Rhys Williams, R Griffiths; S Williams,C Morgans (T Ham 68); J Powell E Drake h/t), P John (I Phillips h/t), A Jeffreys (R Murphy h/t), J Ratti, M Dodd (S Kiley70), M Morris, J Fox (capt) (C Bowden37), W Jones (D Eager 66)