Caerphilly coach Mark Ring was "absolutely delighted" last night after his team drew Swansea at home in the last 16 of the Principality Cup. "We lost to them at home by only a point [19-20] in the league last month. They will obviously come to us with a game plan but we'll be ready." Three seasons ago Swansea won 32-26 at Caerphilly in the last 32.
Ring was more reserved as he looked back on the win at Llandovery as the Green Army moved to within one step of reaching the quarter-finals for the third successive year. "We planned to play a certain way but did not manage it entirely," said the former Wales centre. "I was disappointed with the line-out and scrum set pieces and our unforced errors. But I'll have to say our backs were superb and that we went out to play 15-man rugby." Ring added: "Llandovery made it tough for us up front and all credit to them."
Drovers’ coach Iestyn Thomas said: "Obviously I am disappointed. But there is not a big gulf between the two sides and our forwards did very well.”
If Llandovery had won they would have made a big statement for Division One. "I still think we made a statement with the way we kept at it," Thomas added.
For once, politics were kicked into touch. Here at sunny Church Bank was the heart and soul of the game - spiced up with a little cup fever. Caerphilly, the first premier club entering this season's cup, finished with four tries to three, Llandovery scoring the first of the match after 24 minutes. "That gave us the wake-up call," said Andrew Williams, Caerphilly's 31-year-old skipper and number eight.
Andrew Jones, 29, Drovers captain and prop, said: "I was very pleased with the way our forwards played though we gave away some simple tries."
Two Caerphilly tries in a four-minute spell late in the first half and two more in a nine-minute period midway through the second half were the writing on the wall for the Drovers. Llandovery did come back with tries in the 64th and 75th minute, but by then it was too late. Llandovery, with five farmers in their starting line-up, gave everything in a bid to check the Green Army.
Outside-half Luke Richards, making his first start for Caerphilly after being injured in October, put them 6-0 ahead with two penalties in 13 minutes. Drovers outside-half Gareth Jones landed a penalty and then converted the opening try by number eight Mathew Monaghan. That put them 10-6 ahead - but for only 10 minutes before prop Lee Manning and lock Paul Jones went over for Caerphilly. Richards converted the first to give them an 18-10 lead.
The game virtually went beyond Llandovery's reach with Caerphilly's next two tries. Full-back Sione Tuipulotu raced over to cap probably the best move of the match, involving half-backs Allen Chiltern and Richards and centre Sam Cox. Fellow Tongan Taufahema snapped up Caerphilly's fourth try, which stemmed from a loose tap back by Rovers at a line-out.
Jamie Roberts, who came on for scrum-half Rob Walters, and lock Arwel Davies replied for Llandovery.