What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports:
Generally recognised as having one of the best appointed grounds in Wales, Llandovery also showed they can play a bit in this exciting win over the Quins.
Both sides entertained a good crowd to a feast of running rugby, with Llandovery taking a confident 38-5 lead before the Quins came back magnificently only to run out of steam at the end.
Attention now switches to the WRU choice of 10 teams for next year's Premiership. On the evidence of Saturday’s play, the Scarlets should push for both sides to make the final 10.
Chairman Handel Davies made a plea for the WRU to go to 12 teams. “I believe that three teams per region is needed based on the principle of fairness and equality – why should any one region have a greater or lesser representation than the other? One thing is certain – there is far too much uncertainty and an early decision is needed so that clubs know where they stand in the new set up.”
If - sadly - the choice in the Scarlets region is between Llandovery and Carmarthen Quins, then the Drovers will get the vote on the issue of criteria. They have spent £500,000 on ground improvements and consequently hold a WRU ‘A’ licence whereas the Quins, who do not own their ground, have just a ‘B’ licence.
The WRU have also designed a meritocracy formula based on league positions over the last six seasons and here again the Drovers have advantage. 2007 Welsh Cup winners, Llandovery have played in the Premiership every season whilst the Quins were out of the league for three consecutive seasons 2006-2009. Add a talent for developing under-rated players, a well-coached Athletic XV and a vibrant mini rugby section and the Drovers have sound claims.
The Drovers started in brilliant fashion with two sweeping movements bringing tries for full-back Howard Thomas and centre Adam Warren, both easily converted by fly-half Cerith Rees. It had been all Llandovery for the first quarter, with backs and forwards handling fluently, and it was no surprise when centre Paul Davies got the third converted try after 24 minutes.
Rees kicked a penalty before Quins prop Ian Jones was yellow carded and a great break by impressive No 8 Kieran Murphy got flanker Lloyd Phillips in for yet another converted try and a 31-0 lead in as many minutes. The Quins at last got on the scoreboard with a close range try by flanker Andrew Thomas but home wing Matthew Jacobs got yet another seven point try on the stroke of half time.
Down 38-5 few gave the Quins a chance but with new scrum-half Ricky Richards dictating play cleverly they rallied in brave and decisive style. With the Llandovery pair of flanker Lloyd Phillips and wing Mike Sauro yellow carded, they got five tries through ex-Llandovery fly-half Gareth Morgan (2), prop Ian Jones, Thomas and replacement Richards against a Rees penalty, to make it 41-38.
Llandovery nerves jangled but they kept enough composure in the final minutes, boosted by a yellow card for Quins replacement James Davies. Ex-Wales A fly-half Rees showed his class with two 40 metre penalties to bring the curtain down on a terrific game of open rugby.