Swansea 19 Llandovery 45

Premiership champions Llandovery’s remarkable record against the All Whites continued with this comfortable win at St Helen’s writes Huw S Thomas.

The Drovers followed up the six tries at RGC and eight at the Arms Park with seven against Swansea to make a total of 21 away tries in the last three games.

In the process, it was Llandovery’s 25th consecutive league and cup win over Swansea since August 2010 when their match day squad had two callow 19 year olds in wing Lee Rees and replacement centre Adam Warren.

Rees, now at scrum half and centre Warren may have been on the losing side in 2010 but here played leading roles in a Drovers performance that took the Carmarthenshire club 15 points clear of chasing Newport and Ebbw Vale at the top of the Indigo Premiership

The diminutive Rees has been key to Llandovery’s success over the years and captaining the side in the absence of injured lock Jack Jones, he buzzed with the enthusiasm of a teenager.

Warren, too, was always in view, his partnership with Rhodri Jones smooth and dangerous but all were overshadowed on the day by the all round excellence of fly half Ioan Hughes.

His passes, long and short, delayed or swift, posed continual challenges to the Swansea defence whilst his line kicking was, without exaggeration, international class in length and accuracy.

In just his second year at Llandovery, he has proved a fine signing since his arrival from defunct Llanelli and formed a slick half back partnership with the brilliant little Rees.

One huge, flat cross field punt by the fly half dropped right into the welcoming arms of flying wing Aaron Warren for the score of the day.

Up front and true to their policy of giving youngsters an early taste of Premiership rugby, the Drovers fielded debutant prop 18 year old prop Josh Morse in their starting line up.

He was well cared and looked after by front row stalwarts Craig Thomas and Llyr Green and supported by the wonderfully consistent duo of Joe Powell at lock and Stuart Worrall at open side

Flanker Jordan Evans, too, was as busy as a beaver in a performance that belied his youth and with backs and forwards combining seamlessly, Swansea could not cope.

That said the All Whites tried to play open rugby but without the pace and tempo of the visitors’ running game.

The writing was on the wall after two minutes when a trade mark catch and drive at a line out ended with hooker Thomas grabbing his seventh try of the season

Swansea’s best and brief patch of the game brought tries for fly half Rhys Jones and prop Cameron Jones – a case of Llandovery errors rather that Swansea construction – before a quick salvo of three tries in seven minutes from lock Chris Long, Green and Aaron Warren brought the Drovers a 26-12 bonus point interval lead.

Elusive wing Harri Doel finished well to stretch the lead and although Swansea prop Jones burst over for a consolation score, replacements Taylor Davies and Tom Poole both crossed in the dying minutes.

Davies’s ninth Premiership try of the season makes him Llandovery’s top try scorer and two ahead of fellow hooker Craig Thomas, testament to the expertise of the side’s lethal finishing from close range line outs.

Full back Jack Maynard put over six conversions out of seven to bring his Premiership tally for the season to 108 points

***The Drovers travel to Neath this Saturday for a Premiership encounter between top and bottom, then take a rest the following Saturday before the WRU Cup semi final against Ebbw Vale (at Aberavon) on March 2

Tries: C Jones (2), R Jones
Cons: R Jones (2)
Tries: C Thomas, C Long, L Green, Aaron Warren, H Doel, T Davies, T Poole
Cons: J Maynard (6)

Swansea: H Houston; M Jenkins, J Thomas, O Knott, L Morgan; R Jones, A Hemmings; C Jones, L Phillips-Taylor, E Thompson, L Marsh, M Dodd, J Greaves, C Bowden (capt), L Evans
Replacements A Ivens, D Davies, S Jenkins, S Pailor, C Davies, D Roderick, J Symes, B Wood
Llandovery: J Maynard; H Doel, Adam Warren, R Jones, Aaron Warren; I Hughes, L Rees (capt);J Morse, C Thomas, L Green, C Long, J Powell, J Evans, N Hart, S Worrall
Replacements:D Dallavalle, T Davies, B Watkins, S Melmoth, T Poole, I Phillips, C Dodd, D Land