What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
Llandovery fielded a virtual half strength side in this Swalec Cup tie but still swept away the challenge of Championship side Newbridge at Church Bank. The victory eased them through to the quarter finals after outscoring their Championship visitors by nine tries to two.
They now travel to Ebbw Vale - comfortable winners at Newcastle Emlyn - at a date yet to be fixed, in an attempt to reach the semi-finals of a Cup they famously won in 2007.
The Drovers’ performance earned high praise from Newbridge coach and former Wales hooker Nigel Meek. “It was a pleasure to play against a side that is so positive in attacking intent and who play with style and fluency. Lots of our young and promising players will have learned a lot about what an exciting game rugby can be,” said Meek, capped three times for Wales in 1993.
Meek doffed his cap to the Drovers but was also upbeat about his side’s performance. “We could have seriously caved in at half time when we trailed 40-0 to the superior skills and pace of Llandovery,” said Meek, “but we battled on with youngsters like flanker Kyle Tayler and lock Dan Mock showing enough to merit consideration for higher things.”
“We only lost the second half 19-12,” quipped Meek, although acknowledging that the referee had surprisingly blown the final whistle with at least 10 minutes of normal time plus injury time remaining.
Llandovery coach Euros Evans was pleased with the performance of a side that was well short of its optimum. “We gave valuable time to players like lock Jake Baker and James Davies, who chipped in with 19 points from a try and seven conversions, but were very disappointed that the referee whistled up nine minutes early. It would have been valuable time for aspiring first teamers, many of whom are making a serious statement for a first team start. Players who were expecting a 25-30 minutes play time were robbed of nearly ten minutes of action and I feel sorry for them in their ambition to progress.”
The pace, understanding and fluency of the exciting Llandovery backs, spearheaded by classy scrum half Rhodri Davies, was something that Newbridge had not encountered in the Championship. Davies got a brace of tries but was outdone by the bobby dazzling adventure of full back Lee Rees who got a deserved hat trick of tries, two from long distance.
Ever reliable wing Matthew Jacobs and promising fly half Jamie Davies also crossed to add to two tries from ever improving forwards in prop Scott Jenkins and No 8 Richard Rees.