RGC 21 Llandovery 40
The Drovers completed the league double over the North Walians at Parc Eirias with this resounding win, their 15th in 16 Premiership games writes Huw S Thomas.
They remain five points ahead of Ebbw Vale at the top of the Premiership table with two games in hand but know full well that the Steelmen – 73-5 winners over Neath – Newport and Cardiff will stay in hot pursuit for top honours.
The visit to RGC was the start of a long successive run of away fixtures at Cardiff on Feb 1, Swansea, Neath, Pontypool and Newport before a home game against Swansea on April 6.
The Drovers scored seven tries in the 50- 19 win over RGC at Church Bank back in October and whilst not quite hitting the same high spots, still had far too much all round excellence for a hot and cold opposition.
They ran in six tries, five in the first half to secure the bonus point and one after the break to hold off a brief second half rally from the Gogs.
Llandovery attack coach Gareth Potter thought the task well done.
“After a number of well earned tight wins when conditions had been limiting, it was great to visit RGC and play on a top surface and in good weather.”
“Our attack flourished as a result and quality speed of ball meant that our opponents couldn’t handle us in the first half.”
“We knew they would be a different proposition in the second half and we could have managed the game better but it was nice to score the final try to seal a very satisfactory afternoon.””
“The Warren brothers – Adam and Aaron – and Rhodri Jones were excellent, line breaking constantly but they were well set up by the pack in which lock Joe Powell and flanker Jordan Evans were quite outstanding.”
Skipper Jack Jones was on the bench but his deputy Lee Rees led admirably from scrum half to give his free running backs plenty of ball in the early action.
Playing into the wind, Llandovery kept the ball in hand and swift passing and good angles of running soon found holes in the home defence.
Full back Harri Doel – back from his Thailand holiday – got a try inside ten minutes, finishing off a sweeping attack by cleverly twisting past a number of tacklers.
Backs and forwards kept combining in all out attack and a “chistera” pass from Rees sent wing Aaron Warren straight through to the posts.
There was a real fizz to the Llandovery play and Powell’s long pass out to Kian Abraham sent the right wing diving over wide out.
Good control at a scrum by No 8 Nathan Hart, swift passes from Rees and fly half Iaon Hughes put centre Rhodri Jones in for the bonus point.
After a fine touch finder from Hughes, Powell’s line out take and rumble from the pack hooker Craig Thomas got his usual trademark maul smuggling touchdown.
Hughes missed just one conversion for a 33-7 interval lead.
The only home answer was a try – after a series of close range rucks – by back rower Sam Williams, converted by full back Sam Earl-Jones.
After the break, RGC showed both resolve and ambition to all out attack with centre Delwyn Jones particularly dangerous and two converted tries – from replacement back Dafydd Williams and another by namesake Sam from close range – was no less than they deserved.
It brought the hosts to 33-21 and an outside chance of a bonus point fourth try
The Drovers regrouped quickly and when RGC spilled the ball in midfield, flanker Jordan Evans, replacement hooker Taylor Davies and Abraham combined to put the long striding Aaron Warren galloping in from 25 metres for his second try of the day.
*** The Drovers take on Cardiff at the Arms Park this Thursday (KO 7 30 pm) and face their toughest task of the season against the fast improving Blue and Blacks.
Tries: S Williams (2), D Williams
Cons: S Earl-Jones (3)
Tries: Aaron Warren (2), H Doel, K Abraham, R Jones, C Thomas
Cons: I Hughes (4), J Maynard
RGC: S Earl-Jones, S Stoddart, M Buchanan, D Jones, A Bagshaw (capt); A Lennon, T Ellis; C Hone, J Liney. P Jones, B Jones, I Evans, D Owen, S Williams, C Probert
Replacements; R King, G Parry, J Simpson, B McQueeney, E Fackrell, D Williams, D Jones, L Willians
Llandovery:H Doel; K Abraham, R Jones, Adam Warren,. Aaron Warren; I Hughes, L Rees (capt); D Dallavalle, C Thomas, B Watkins, C Long, J Powell, O Davies, N Hart, J Evans
Replacements: J Hughes, T Davies, L Green, J Jones, S Worrall, J Davies, J Maynard, D Land