Aberystwyth RFC | 1st Team 40 - 17 Llanelli Wanderers RFC | 1st Team
Robert Lloyd Thomas
1 Try
Lewis Rhys Jones
1 Conversion
Dafydd Parkman
1 Try
Jordan Evans
1 Try

Match Report
10 February 2019 / Team News

Important Home Win

Aberystwyth  40  v  17  Llanelli Wanderers

Talk about a game of two halves! There was no comparison between Aber’s free-flowing, fluent team performance in the second half, with the ponderous, error-ridden display we saw in the first half of this game. In the opening forty minutes the visitors, two places and five points below Aber in Division 1 West, outplayed the hosts and led 7 – 12 at the interval.

In the first five minutes of a bizzare first half, two yellow cards were shown and a player from either side spent ten minutes in the sin-bin. Territory and possession were shared equally and both teams showed a willingness to open up the game. Aber broke the deadlock when James Plumbridge raced away downfield and the momentum was continued by scrum-half Gruff Jones. Breaking from the ensuing ruck, he fed Matthew Hughes who scored the opening try wide out. Steff Rees added the conversion with an excellent kick to put Aber 7 – 0 ahead.

Llanelli Wanderers, buoyed by the recent return of their coach, ex-British Lion, Barrie Thomas, hit back immediately. From a scrum 35 metres out, fly-half Lloyd Thomas jinked through some very poor, half-hearted Aber tackling to score an unconverted try. Aber then let two good try-scoring opportunities slip as handling errors let them down with the line at their mercy. This encouraged the visitors and winger Zac Chambers scored their second try in the corner. Lewis Jones converted to give Wanderers a 7 – 12 lead at half time.

Aber made a confident start to the second half and as a result of a typically aggressive run by Tom Evans followed by good carries by Ian Ellis and Llyr Thomas, Tommy Sandford scored in the corner. Another fine conversion by Steff Rees put the hosts ahead by 14 – 12. Their next try came from Ian Ellis following good breaks by Arwel Lloyd and replacement scrum half, Mike Jones. Again the visitors hit back hard but a timely interception by prop forward Oisin Canney changed matters. Showing the acceleration and deft handling that only a loose head prop is capable of, he raced a full 25 metres before unselfishly offloading to Matthew Hughes who scored Aber’s bonus point try in the corner. Another excellent conversion by Steff Rees brought the score to 26 – 12.

Again the Wanderers retaliated hard leading to an unconverted try by winger Daf Parkman. But Aber weren’t finished yet. Steff Rees found touch with a penalty kick into the visitors’ 22 metre area. The ball was spread wide before Daniel Harvard picked up a difficult pass to scamper over for Aber’s fifth try, converted by Rees to widen their lead to 33 - 17. The hosts closed the scoring with Matthew Hughes’ hat trick try crowning a fine personal performance. Llyr Thomas put over a good conversion to close the scoring at 40 – 17.

The score suggests that this was eventually an easy win for the hosts. But make no mistake, at no time did the Wanderers give up the fight. They covered and defended very vigorously right to the end. The fact that Aber were able to race away and win the game so well in the second half reflects the way they fought for and retained possession, the way they carried and supported the ball carrier, and offloaded for the eventual scorers to race away for the points.

If Aber can repeat this second half performance in their remaining games, there is no reason why they should not achieve a clean sweep and an unbeaten run through to the close of the season. This would put them firmly in the upper end of Division 1 at the finish.

To do this they first need to iron out their tendency for handling errors and maintain the fluency and understanding between each other to launch quick attacks and counterattacks from anywhere on the field as they did in the second half of this match. At restarts, Daniel Harvard consistently shows his fellow forwards how to field opposition kick offs, but Aber are often slow to follow up their own kick allowing the opposition time and room to respond.

Up front, Tom Evans and Bryn Shepherd again shone in the rucks and mauls for Aber and the front row trio was evident in the loose in general. Neither pack had the edge in the scrummages and in the lineouts Dan Binks’ ball-winning skills were sorely missed. Steff Rees’ place kicking continues to be of the highest standard.

Aber have another home game next Saturday (16th Feb) against Whitland. They lost the away leg putting in a very weak performance, so they will be determined to put matters right at home. If they can repeat the stylish display of running rugby that we saw in the second half of this Saturday’s game they should win.

Also on Saturday, Aber’s Youth XV will take on Cwmafon RFC Youth at Plascrug in the quarter final of the Welsh Cup competition. The boys and their coach, Wayne Thomas, need all the support they can get. They have done brilliantly to get as far as this and have the ability and potential to go right to the final at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, so please come down and cheer them on.


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