Irish eyes were not smiling at Church Bank as Llandovery proved far too strong in the second half for Young Munster and ran out convincing 5 tries to 1 winners. The visitors, on a 3-day training camp in Wales, did not field their British Lions Rob Henderson and Peter Clohessy, nor four other Munster squad members, but as befits a side that finished third in last year’s First Division, they proved stern opposition for all but the final quarter.
Ex Bay of Plenty Wing Finbar Hogan got an excellent first half try for the men from Limerick and the Irish forwards with hooker Bevan Cantrell to the fore gave as good as they got until they faded in the final quarter of the contest.
The Drovers took time to settle down but new boys Neil Clapham at fly half and Stuart Harries at full back made big impressions, as did another newcomer in ex-Bridgend and Llanelli flanker Ceri Davies who got two tries through good reading of the game and fine support play. Clapham, who has signed for Neath, also crowned a top performance with a classy break and try whilst two of the Church Bank stalwarts of recent campaigns, flanker Gareth Thomas and centre Tracy Lewis, fully deserved tries for their non stop efforts.
Ex-Llandovery College wing and captain Rhodri Gomer Davies made some thrilling runs but held on a little too long for tries to ensue, whilst up front No.8 Aled Davies and the two Andrew Joneses, prop and captain Andrew Bryn Jones and hooker Andrew Richard Jones, were purposeful and combative forwards.
The Llandovery replacements too, centre Rhys Gosling, wing Andy Richards, prop Jack Bennett, lock Iwan Davies and flankers Wayne Beynon and Will Price, all looked fit and hungry and ready to challenge for starting line up spots.
Dunvant signing Harries kicked all five conversions with considerable aplomb and will be a major factor in Llandovery’s challenge for a high league position this year which starts off this Saturday, September 1, with the away visit to Blackwood who are coached by former Llandovery lock and captain Ian Jones.
Young Munster coach John Moloney’s opinion that Llandovery would hold their own in the Irish First Division was proof enough that the Drovers are lively outsiders for Division One honours. It is still not too late to get 4-1 with local bookmaker Nobby Clarke for The Drovers to finish in the top six.