What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
Llandovery got a much needed win in beating The All Blacks for a record sixth consecutive time in the Premiership. They move up to 27 league points in the table and nine clear of bottom side Newport.
The Drovers were deserved winners as they tried to play all the rugby against a Neath side that was one dimensional in driving on through their muscular but predictable forwards.
Coach Lyndon Lewis was also delighted with the quality of his side’s defence which stood up to huge battering in the second half after referee Jones had sin binned three Drovers in lock Bryn Griffiths, hooker Luke Lewis and prop Jamie Kaijaks. “We got away with it through some magnificent last ditch tackling whether we were at 13, 14 or 15 men in that second half,” said Lewis. “I have never seen so many try saving tackles on or near the goal line and it was a credit to the team spirit that exists amongst the group.”
The Llandovery coaches were disappointed with the controversial sin binning of prop Jamie Kaijaks very late on when Neath had a scrum close to the Llandovery line. This resulted in passive scrums for the final two minutes of the game.
That said, Llandovery were always the more dangerous with ball in hand and were always the readier to open up. Full back Rhys Williams made a fine break following a strike move from a scrum but was hauled down close to the line and another chance went begging.
An Aaron Warren try after fine work from the outstanding James Garland plus 11 points from the boot of the fly half against a try, conversion and penalty from scrum half Rhodri Cole was not a true reflection of home ascendancy.
In the second half the Neath pack had opportunities galore when Llandovery were depleted but for all their hard driving in the loose they could not unlock a defence in which No 8 Richard Brooks and centre Rhodri Jones were particularly outstanding. Two more penalties from Garland which took him to a 17 point tally guaranteed the fifth Llandovery win 13 games.