What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports:
Third placed Drovers kept in touch with Neath and Aberavon in recording a facile win over struggling Tonmawr. They move on to 74 points, just one point behind the two Ospreys clubs, with three games left to play – Carmarthen Quins and Swansea at home, Pontypridd away.
The Drovers rotated the squad from the team that started against Llanelli in their previous league encounter. Coaches Lyndon Lewis and Euros Evans were keen to mention that "healthy competition" exists within the Drovers squad and that this has been key to this year's success, and went on to state that it will be very difficult to pick a team for next Saturday’s "local derby" with Carmarthen Quins.
At Tonmawr, Llandovery were always in control, running in nine tries in a comprehensive victory. This was a further step towards securing a place in the play-offs. The coaches were pleased with the bonus point victory but were disappointed with the team’s defensive performance. Evans – director of rugby at Coleg Sir Gar - was still basking in the glow of the Llanelli college’s wonderful feat of winning the Rosslyn Park National Schools Open on Friday, when they beat Whitgift 26-0 in the final. He still found time to stress the Drovers tackling was not up to scratch.
“We were fragile in defence and also let a number of chances slip through our grasp,” said Evans. “We will need to tighten up all round before the massive local derby against the Quins on Saturday.”
The game was over by half time when Llandovery, with oodles of possession, had run in six tries to lead 43-17. Lock and skipper Shaun Jones was the king of the line out, fly half James Garland was a good link man and the threat of full back Lee Rees, the Warren brothers – centre Adam and wing Aaron – and centre Paul Davies bode ill for the village side.
Centre Adam Warren (2), lock Shaun Jones, wings Aaron Warren and Mike Evans plus fly half James Garland had established a 43-3 lead.
But Tonmawr refused to close up the game and their adventurous approach was rewarded with two excellent tries – first for hard working lock Scott Hicks and the second by their best player and attacker, centre Steff Andrews, both converted by fly half Luke Richards who had earlier kicked a penalty.
After the break, Tonmawr kept fighting bravely and held out until the last quarter when Garland and prop Dean Howells crossed for Llandovery. Garland went off, to be replaced by Cerith Rees, after being responsible for 25 points and crossing the 100 point mark for the club. He and Rees are now joint top scorers for the season, with 117 points apiece.
But never-say-die Tonmawr refused to capitulate and in a blitz of late scoring both centre Steve Winn and the elusive Andrews sandwiched a brilliant solo effort from Aaron Warren to close out a hugely entertaining free for all.
Principality Premiership Choice: Shaun Jones (Llandovery)
*** All roads lead to Church Bank this Easter Saturday where a bumper crowd will see third placed Llandovery host fourth placed Quins in a game (KO 2 30 pm) that will have a huge influence on qualification for the Premiership play offs