1995/1996 SWALEC Cup
Llandovery 5 v 25 Newport
24 February 1996 - Queensway Ground, Llandovery

Match Report

Llandovery 5 – 25 Newport

 We have two reports for this game

What the Papers Say - Huw George reports:

A display of word class kicking by outside half Gareth Rees ended Llandovery’s SWALEC Cup adventure. The Canadian skipper kicked every chance offered to him as Llandovery tried to hold out against a first half wind and their first division opponents. His five penalties and drop goal proved decisive in a match where the tries scored were level at one all.

Following a lengthy period of anticipation, a great deal of organisation, and a huge amount of on and off the field effort, the big day finally arrived with an opportunity to proceed into the final eight of this prestigious competition.

Despite the appalling weather conditions, with driving rain and gale force winds, supporters of both sides were out in number, aware that there was no certainty of how the result would fall despite the relative league positions.

Much of the pre-match speculation had been about the inability of the visitors to travel and succeed at lower division sides – particularly in West Wales.

Llandovery’s preparations had been disrupted with injuries to Arwel Evans, John Westgarth and Stuart Richards, and it was largely an un-tried side which greeted the spectators.

The visitors were pretty much at full strength and when they won the toss and opted to play with the wind, it was the home side who kicked off into the teeth of the wind, facing an uphill struggle.

The early exchanges were in the home side’s favour, with driving close quarter play that took the game to the visitors, who appeared surprised at the commitment and endeavour of the Drovers as they set their stall out to ensure that the game was well contested.

Despite the early pressure, with the forwards playing particularly well, it was almost inevitable that the boot of Rees would take control, hoisting the ball high on the wind and driving the home side back, making sure they were on the back foot.

The first score followed one such instance when the home side was penalised. The chunky number 10 slotted the first of his five successful penalty goals after only five minutes play. The second score came after 12 minutes when another long ball was minored, the resulting drop out was fielded by the number 10, who kicked a snap drop goal from 40 yards.

Once again the home side took the game to the visitors with driving close quarter play, only to see their efforts thwarted by the same high ball tactic – it was clear that the Black and Ambers had come with one intent, and it wasn’t pretty.

Three more penalties from Rees put considerable daylight between the sides before Rees started a sparkling move which led to Newport’s only try. Clever inter-passing by centres Duncan Hughes and Diccon Edwards allowed number 8 Richard Goodey to send former Tumble wing Richard Rees over in the corner. Rees converted superbly before adding another penalty.

Llandovery were desperately unlucky not to get on the score sheet before the interval as they were held up short on a number of occasions.

With the wind behind them Llandovery dominated the second half territorially, and they exerted huge forward pressure on the visitors, which brought out the best of the Newport defence. Desperate tackles stopped Arwel Rowlands and Jeremy Griffiths in the corners.

The pressure finally paid off, albeit too late, when Griffiths was sent away on a run to the line for a try which went unconverted.

Newport tried to launch another attack, but a strike against the head by Llandovery hooker Hywel James relieved the pressure. Former Llanelli centre Simon Davies broke away, but was unable to get a pas away.

The Drovers can be more than proud of their performance, knowing they were beaten by a team boasting a world class kicker in top form.

Report courtesy of an online blogger by the name of Nigel Evans

Newport's policy of going back to basics paid dividends and the prodigous boot of fly-half Gareth Rees did the rest. Having previously and famously lost in the cup at Penclawdd and Ystradgynlais, the current crop of Rodney Parade players had a reputation to live down. They did so, in a thoroughly professional manner, to progress to the quarter finals, overcoming with comparative ease a task that could have been so much more difficult.

It was clear from the kickoff that the visitors to Church Bank were not going to be rushed into anything. Their huge pack was occasionally under pressure at the scrum, but whenever Newport turned the screw Llandovery suffered. The try tally was 1 - 1 at the end of the game and, while the Drovers can be proud of that, they cannot escape from the fact that they were unable to withstand the sustained pressure Newport placed them under.

Gareth Rees kicked his first penalty after four minutes and by half time he had scored all but five of the points that were to see his side through. Three more penalties and the conversion of wing Richard Rees' brilliantly executed try meant Newport scored all their points in that opening period. The try came as an indirect result of Rees's tactic of kicking deep with the wind at his back for most of the first half.

Home full-back Gareth Davies and wings Arwel Rowlands and Jeremy Griffiths were forced to lie deep in their own territory. So when the Newport fly-half released his three-quarters when they were already ahead 15 - 0, there was no cover out wide. Centres Duncan Hughes and Diccon Edwards made the most of the chance to make ground before skipper Richard Goodey arrived in support to ensure Richard Rees made the corner.

Llandovery's second half reply was of similar quality as fly-half Dai Lloyd-Jones and fullback Davies created the space for Jeremy Griffiths. But, unlike those two previous visits to unfamiliar West Wales territory, Newport emerged unruffled and relatively unscathed from this encounter.

Official : Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

Team Sheets


Llandovery Newport