Llangennech RFC | 1st Team 9 - 24 Aberystwyth RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
16 October 2016 / Team News

Brave Away Win against Llangennech

Llangennech 9  -  24 Aberystwyth

Llangennech have been among the strongest sides in Div 1 for over ten years and on Saturday gave Aberystwyth one of the most difficult challenges they have encountered so far this season. That Aber emerged such convincing winners, scoring three tries to none, was due to their impenetrable defence, flashes of brilliance in attack and great naivety on the part of the home side in failing to take their chances.

The home side scored an early penalty to which Aber replied with a Llyr Thomas effort from 35 metres out. Honours were even in the first quarter with the home pack gaining most of the possession and Aber defending stoutly. Llangennech’s taller and heavier forwards were dominant in the scrums and lineouts and so were able to mount waves of attack. Aber dealt with these very effectively but were eventually penalised for offside 40 metres out. The home side converted the penalty with the aid of the woodwork to take a 6-3 lead. Aber struck back almost immediately and a grubber kick from Matthew Hughes was followed up by Llyr Thomas who offloaded to Gruff Jones to score a try under the posts. Thomas converted and Aber were 6-10 ahead.

Llangennech came back strongly and after twenty minutes kicked a penalty in front of the Aber posts to close the gap to 9-10. Both sides were then locked in a territorial battle for several minutes until Aber won a lineout ball on the home side’s 22 metre line. The ball was fed to Hughes who made an excellent break and found Paul Stubbs in support as ever to score under the posts. Thomas converted and Aber were 9-17 ahead. At this stage the visitors had to cover and tackle exhaustively to prevent the well-drilled home backs from penetrating. This defence, together with some fine clearance kicks, saw off the threat. Aber then worked their way upfield and from a lineout on the right the ball was fed along the line to Rhodri Richards at inside centre. He made ground and fed his co-centre Carwyn Evans who made a fine inside break to take him to within 5 metres of the line. He was stopped but managed to slip a pass to Gruff Jones to score his second try of the day and Aber’s third. Thomas converted to take the score to 9-24 and complete the scoring for the day by half time.  

The second half started with the home side coming back fiercely and camping in Aber territory for long periods. They were awarded two penalties during this period and, inexplicably given the score and the strength of their forwards, opted to go for goal both times instead of going for touch and using a catch and drive. Both kicks for goal were unsuccessful. To add to this, they twice failed to use clear overlaps near the Aber line, deciding each time to cut back inside into the welcoming arms of the visitors’ cover. As the home side’s frustration grew so did the offences and it was no surprise that their blind side flanker was yellow carded for backchat. This was followed near the end of the half by a stamping by one of their second row forwards to earn him a red card. The final whistle was blown and Aber had won their fourth victory in six matches in Div 1.

Despite being under severe pressure in retreating scrums, Aber consistently won quick, channel one ball on their put-in, but it still required No 8 and captain Lee Evans to pick up and keep possession or feed Jones at scrum half. This he did very well and saved the visitors from more trouble. In the lineouts Dan Binks and Robbie Parry were competitive and gave nothing away to their taller opponents. Sion Summers, making a welcome return as full-back, was safe in defence and made some fine clearance kicks. But at times Aber still persisted in trying to run out of defence when kicking would have been a far safer option.

On Saturday, all of Aber’s three tries were scored or initiated by the backs – as most of their 20 tries scored in the six Div 1 games played this season have been. They are Aber’s strike force and they can be very effective. But on Saturday, as in most of Aber’s games, forwards cluttered up the back line taking the ball and predictably running straight into the opposition. When the ball is passed out to the backs, Aber do much better and, with the support of players like Paul Stubbs to take offloads, they score more tries. There’s a lesson there somewhere!

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