Llandovery are aiming to reach the last 16 of the SWALEC Cup for the second year running at the expense of North Walians Mold. If they achieve their goal, they will be once again seeded for next season's competition, as well as being in with a chance of a money spinning sixth round tie.
But in typical cup style, the Heineken second division side are not counting their chickens. Llandovery spokesman Roland Griffiths told the Guardian: "We have kept a close eye on what they have done. They are obviously a strong side, they have beaten Llandybie and Beddau, and beat Ruthin last Saturday. They haven't got a very big pack and they throw the ball about a bit. Their strength is in their three-quarters.''
Llandovery are wise not to underestimate their opponents. Mold have a 100 per cent record in the David McLean North Wales League, which they lead by seven points. But Mr Griffiths says Llandovery seem to be running into form. "We played Neath and Swansea after Christmas, and they both brought strong sides. For three-quarters of the game we looked more of a first division side than Swansea, although they weren't at full strength. We must not be over confident, but if we play the way we did against Swansea, when the forwards were tremendous, we should be alright."
The club has made it clear second division survival is its main aim this season, but Mr Griffiths adds: "There is a lot to play for. The feeling is the league is number one, but it is a big incentive to get to the last sixteen."
Last season, Llandovery drew Bridgend away in the sixth round. If they get through this time, they will be hoping for a home draw.
What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports:
The visitors did themselves and North Wales rugby proud in front of a good crowd at Church Bank when they came far nearer than the score suggests to causing a big Cup upset.
Llandovery took a fourth-minute lead through a try to hooker Colin Horscroft, who crashed over after a Craig Yandell line-out deflect and an Adrian Davies run had got Mold on the back foot. Richard Dix converted. But Mold never lost their composure and at the interval had pulled back to 3-7 through a good penalty by centre Graham Spence.
Even when Llandovery extended their lead to 10-3 soon after the restart, with a wide-angled Richard Dix penalty to add to his conversion, it was Mold who took the game to the Heineken League side. Their back row was always in the thick of things, the eight won good ball at ruck and maul, whilst behind the scrum there was a determination to play rugby. For Llandovery there were good performances from back row colleagues Nigel Clarke, their ever-green No 8, and flanker Aled Davies.
But whilst victory was Llandovery’s the honours went to Mold and it was hard on the visitors when Dix kicked a last minute penalty goal. Mold were warmly applauded off the field by a home crowd which was relieved to have witnessed the end of a worthy, albeit unsuccessful, challenge by the North Walians.