Swansea survived a late Llandovery onslaught to record their twelfth win of the season and keep the pressure on leaders Neath. The Drovers came into the game low on confidence after a heavy defeat at home to Cardiff last weekend but they showed no sign of this at St Helen’s.
Swansea took the lead through a James Dixon penalty goal after Nio Aiono entered a ruck from an offside position. It looked as if the All Whites would run away with the match early on as livewire winger Hanno Dirksen scored under the posts after good work by Ricky Williams and Leigh Bevan.
Dirksen came close to scoring after hacking forward a loose ball but his kick crossed the dead ball line.
A Dixon penalty took the home side into a 13-0 lead before a break through the middle by Lloyd Phillips created an overlap from which Neil Clapham scored in the corner.
Former All White Cerith Rees cut the gap to five points with a penalty goal after the home defence killed the ball. Dirksen was then yellow carded and from the resulting lineout centre Dan Rogers glided past the Swansea defence to score in the corner. Rees converted to hand the visitors a half time lead.
Half time:- Swansea 13 Llandovery 15
Llandovery extended their lead after the interval with a Rees penalty goal after the Whites’ forwards entered a ruck off their feet. David Watts took Swansea back ahead with a try in the corner after receiving a deft pass from Dirksen.
Howard Thomas and Dixon traded penalties but Dixon failed to hit the target with a drop goal after Dirksen created a good platform. The Swansea fly half knocked over a penalty goal and then looked to have sealed victory with a try under the posts after a 20-metre maul by the pack, but Llandovery refused to give up.
Marc Popham was shown a yellow card for killing the ball and a late Rees try meant the home side had to desperately defend their line to earn a hard fought victory. The visitors threw the kitchen sink at Swansea and during the last play they managed to fashion a two man overlap out wide only for Leigh Bevan to intercept the pass and clear.
The win keeps Swansea in second place but their failure to collect a bonus point means they lose ground on leaders Neath who scored four tries in their victory at Aberavon. Llandovery stay in mid table and on this form look unlikely to be drawn into a relegation battle.
Full time:- Swansea 33 Llandovery 28
Venue:- St Helen’s, Swansea
Weather:- Sunny, 0C
Competition:- Principality Premiership
Referee:- Simon Harris
Swansea scorers:- Dixon (4 Pens, 3 Cons, Try), Dirksen (Try), Watts (Try)
Llandovery scorers:- Clapham (Try), Rees (2 Pens, 2 Cons, Try), Rogers (Try), Thomas (Pen)
Man of the match:- Hanno Dirksen
Swansea team:- 15 R Williams (rep: D Karauna) 14 H Dirksen 13 C Shelmerdine 12 D Watts 11 L Bevan 10 J Dixon 9 R Wells 1 L May (rep: A Clatworthy) 2 A Joy 3 R Jones (rep: T Evans) 4 S Kiley 5 R Kelly 6 L Jones (rep: M Popham) 7 S Lewis (rep: D Blyth) 8 S Jones
By Paul Hopkins