What the Papers Say - Tom Hughes reports:
Unbeaten Llandovery won their third consecutive Premiership game, strolling to a bonus point win at the expense of a game but outclassed Bridgend side.
The Drovers have claimed 14 points out of a possible 15 in their first three games and move into second place in the table, behind Pontypridd and just ahead of Ebbw Vale who they meet at Church Bank on Saturday.
Coach Euros Evans made a number of changes from the side that had beaten Llanelli the week before but with little loss of fluency or organisation. There were full debuts for wing Rhys Gealy, hooker Dafydd Hughes, flanker Stuart Worrall and prop Bradley Davies - and all four fitted in well. Gealy looked for work, Hughes was busy as a bee, Worrall shirked nothing and Davies gave nothing away at the scrum.
But coach Evans was not totally happy with the performance. “It wasn't one of our best performances but we are delighted with five points on the road. It was a bit messy all round. We struggled to get our game going but it's great to be in a position where we are disappointed with a performance that got us a bonus point victory.”
The Drovers took control early on and went easily ahead 26-6 at the break through tries from darting full back Will Thomas, scrum half Lee Rees and centre Craig Woodall plus eight points from the boot of fly half Jack Maynard.
Bridgend No 8 Hereimi Boladau got the Bridgend try and was soon to the fore as the Ravens came back bravely in the second half. They put huge pressure on the Llandovery line and won penalty after penalty without being able to overcome fierce defence.
Lock Matthew Harbut and No 8 Richard Brooks served time in the sin bin but the Drovers pulled further ahead when the outstanding Rees put in ex-Narberth flanker Worrall to claim the bonus point.
New signing Maynard rubbed salt into the wound with a self converted try to bring his season’s tally to an impressive 36 points in three games.
It was only at the death when Llandovery had lost replacement prop Scott Jenkins to the sin bin that Bridgend eventually managed to get over the visitors’ line through a try by hardworking flanker Scott Hicks, converted by fly half Ryan Evans.
The Bridgend Ravens website has also published the following report:
Bridgend Ravens spirited efforts were not enough as they went down to a third successive league defeat against Llandovery on Saturday.
The Ravens welcomed Llandovery to the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field for the third round of the Principality Premiership, with the Hosts looking to secure their first league points of the season.
Bridgend started the match on the front foot. Dale Rodgers made a clean break but the Drovers scrambling defenders halted the Ravens attack.
It was Llandovery that would score the first try of the match. A quick tap penalty set up a big overlap and fullback Will Thomas went over. Jack Maynard added the conversion for an early 8-0 lead.
The next score came at the end of the opening quarter. A clearance from the Ravens was spilt by the Visitors and Bridgend made the most of the opportunity. Ifereimi Boladau bundled over for the Ravens first six pointer of the afternoon. Ryan Evans was unable to level the scores with a tough wide conversion.
Llandovery increased their lead shortly after with a second try. Scrum half Lee Rees slid over and Maynard added his second conversion of the match. Five minutes later a scrum penalty awarded to the Drovers handed Jack Maynard another chance from the tee and the fly half landed the first penalty of the match.
A double yellow card was to come just before the break as Bridgend's Marc Bennett and Llandovery's Matthew Harbut were both sin binned following a fracas. A penalty reversal handed Llandovery another opportunity as the half came to a close. Craig Woodall was the man to grab the Visitors third try following a lineout move deep in the Ravens 22. Maynard added a third successful conversion of the afternoon.
HT Bridgend Ravens 6-26 Llandovery RFC
Bridgend started the second half in a powerful manner. A strong scrum drive was illegally halted and the Ravens kicked to the corner. The resulting maul was dragged down by Richard Brooks and the Llandovery Number 8 was shown a yellow card.
With the Ravens in the ascendancy at scrum time - they opted to try to march toward the line from just inside the Llandovery 22. Four further penalties were awarded as consecutive scrums were collapsed by the Visitors, but the referee decided against further sanctions. Bridgend attempted to spread the ball wide but poor handling halted the attack.
The Drovers were to secure a bonus point with 15 minutes to spare. A maul stormed over with Stuart Worrall touching down. Maynard missed with the wide conversion attempt.
A third yellow card for Llandovery arrived as the Ravens continued to fight in attack. The consistent infringements from the Visitors saw the referee eventually lose patients but the Drovers were still able to notch a fifth try as Jack Maynard found a gap to touch down under the posts. The fly half converted his own try.
The Ravens had the last say as Scott Hicks burst through the Llandovery defence to dot down with Ryan Evans landing the conversion with the last play of the match.
Another spirited Bridgend display was not able to match the organisation or experience of the Llandovery side that have found themselves within the playoff spots at the early stages of the season.