What the Papers Say – Tom Hughes reports:
Llandovery suffered their heaviest defeat of the season after being outplayed from first to last by Pontypridd at Sardis Road. The bonus point win took the defending champions five points clear of Ebbw Vale at the top of the Premiership and with a game in hand over the Steelmen. The Drovers slip down to ninth place in the table after Aberavon’s win over Bridgend had taken the Wizards above the Towy Valley side.
Saturday’s setback was also the heaviest Llandovery defeat since losing to Pontypridd by exactly the same score at Sardis Road on March 19, 2011, when Ponty also scored a similar six tries, four conversions and a penalty to one lone penalty goal.
This latest result at Sardis Road bodes ill for the Drovers who have to return to The House of Pain on March 28 to face Ponty in the quarter-final of the Swalec Cup. The cup holders will be overwhelming favourites to get to the semi-finals and the only thing in Llandovery’s favour will be the fact that they go there under no pressure, with no one expecting them to win.
Coaches Lyndon Lewis and Euros Evans will also have a number of key players not in Saturday’s line up ready to come back for the cup encounter but know that it will be a tall order to turn things around.
“We are under no illusions about the challenge we face,” said Lewis, “but we will play better than we did on Saturday, have some key players in the starting line up and will be giving it our all.”
There were ominous signs early on when Ponty fly-half Simon Humberstone kicked a penalty after Llandovery were shoved back at a scrum and conceded the first of many penalties. Dominant at scrum, line-out and the breakdown Ponty went into a 21-3 half-time lead through tries from No 8 Dan Godfrey (two) and scrum-half Lewis Jones plus Humberstone’s points from the boot.
Young Kidwelly fly-half Steffan Marshall – standing in for James Garland – got Llandovery’s only points of the game through a penalty.
Tactical changes did little to help the Drovers’ cause in the second half and Welsh international scrum-half Rhodri Williams made little impact with limited possession. Godfrey, wing Matthew Nuthall and full back Aled Summerhill added further tries to pull the champions 38 points clear.