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By: Paul Hopkins
North Walian side RGC 1404 gained their first victory over Swansea in their sixth attempt thanks largely to a classy display by their outstanding backline.
It was a perfect start for the visitors when prop Joe Simpson and number eight Tim Grey made hard yards to allow fly half Jacob Botica to hang a well weighted kick up to the corner for winger Carwyn ap Myrddin to score. Botica converted.
Swansea fly half Julian Mogg had the chance to get his side on the board when the home pack drove RGC backwards, but he missed his effort at goal.
RGC continued their excellent start when winger Rhys Williams made a break with Grey and hooker Evan Yardley in support. Centre Tom Hughes got the ball out wide, but ap Myrddin was bundled into touch by centre Jedd Evans.
Swansea were back on level terms when number eight Jon Fox gathered a loose ball following a mistake in the defence, with prop Sam Martin and hooker Ricky Guest taking possession into the twenty-two. In similar fashion to the opening try, Mogg kicked across field for winger Richard Williams to gather and score. Mogg converted.
The visitors grabbed their second try when winger Rhys Williams sprinted deep into the Swansea half with Simpson in support. The forwards continued the momentum, before the ball was swept back out wide for Williams to score. Botica missed the conversion.
Swansea looked to hit back immediately when centre Josh Martin stayed strong in the tackle and flanker Jon Vaughan took a crash ball, but the potential try scoring pass by Martin to Evans was deemed forward.
Try number three for the visitors came when full back Josh Jones failed to deal with a Botica high kick, and centre Tom Hughes took full advantage to score. Botica converted.
Lock Tudor Hughes gathered the restart at pace, forcing RGC to kill the ball at a ruck. Mogg kicked to the corner and flanker Will Jones took good lineout ball, but a knock on brought an end to the move.
A loose scrum was recovered by Will Jones and Sam Martin provided support, but centre Tiaan Loots intercepted Evans’ pass to prevent a certain try.
RGC were back on the attack soon enough when Grey collected lineout ball and was supported by Loots and Simpson. Swansea were penalised for killing the ball and Botica made no mistake with his effort at goal.
With a sense of urgency winger Richard Thomas and Evans linked up on the wing, forcing the visitors’ defence to kill the ball. Mogg kicked to touch and both Hughes and Sloane were held up a metre short, before scrum half Martin Luckwell crashed over the line for try. Mogg missed the conversion.
On the stroke of half time a superb counterattack involving Loots and ap Myrddin almost resulted in a try for the visitors, but the Whites defence managed to track back to thwart the move.
Half-time:- Swansea 12 RGC 1404 22
The visitors continued to use their backs to good effect in the second half with winger Rhys Williams and hooker Evan Yardley charging forward, ably supported by ap Myrddin. Centre Tom Hughes was held up just short of the line and RGC should have scored, but Yardley’s pass to winger Rhys Williams was a metre forward.
It didn’t take long for the visitors to score their fourth try though. Full back Afon Bagshaw caught a high ball, jinking his way past a few tackles, before feeding Loots, who touched down under the posts. Botica converted.
Knowing they needed to score the next try, the All Whites mounted an attack through Thomas and flanker Jon Vaughan. Hughes was held up a metre short of the line, before Mogg spotted a gap in the defence to score. He also converted.
The home pack continued to dominate up front and forced RGC to get the ball quickly out of a scrum. Botica was then penalised for holding on after the tackle and replacement winger Jac Wilson kicked his side back to within seven points.
It looked like the wheels were starting to come off for the visitors when Simpson was sent to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle.
To their credit though RGC played a clever game, not allowing the man advantage to count. Bagshaw cut through the defence, holding off a couple of weak tackles, and the All Whites were penalised for killing the ball. Botica kicked the three pointer.
When centre Tom Hughes hacked forward a loose ball, Evans failed to deal with the danger and ended up being forced back over his own try line. Loots was driven up to the line from the scrum, but Grey was then tuned over.
The visitors signed off in style when winger Rhys Williams sprinted past a tiring Swansea defence and sent Loots over for his second try. Botica converted.
Next up for Swansea is a trip to Llandovery in the Challenge Cup this coming Wednesday, while RGC host Bargoed in the league in three weeks’ time.
Full time:- Swansea 22 RGC 1404 39
Tries:- Richard Williams (14), Martin Luckwell (36), Julian Mogg (52)
Cons:- Julian Mogg (15, 53)
Pens:- Jac Wilson (56)
RGC 1404 scorers:
Tries:- Carwyn ap Myrddin (2), Rhys Williams (wing) (18), Tom Hughes (centre) (23), Tiaan Loots (47, 70)
Cons:- Jacob Botica (3, 24, 48, 71)
Pens:- Jacob Botica (32, 62)
Yellow cards:- Joe Simpson (58)
Venue:- St Helen’s, Swansea
Referee:- Aled Evans
Weather:- Cloudy, 15C
Man of the match:- Tiaan Loots
15 Josh Jones
14 Richard Williams (rep: Jac Wilson 53)
13 Jedd Evans
12 Josh Martin (rep: David Watts 72)
11 Richard Thomas
10 Julian Mogg
9 Martin Luckwell (rep: Mike Jones 75)
1 Tom Sloane (rep: Richard Murphy 72)
2 Ricky Guest (rep: Paul John 59)
3 Sam Martin (rep: Mitchell Walsh 73)
4 Gavin Ronan (rep: Jay Williams 72)
5 Tudor Hughes
6 Jon Vaughan ©
7 Will Jones
8 Jon Fox (rep: Rory Gallagher 25-38, 62)
16 Paul John
17 Richard Murphy
18 Mitchell Walsh
19 Jay Williams
20 Rory Gallagher
21 Mike Jones
22 Jac Wilson
23 David Watts
RGC 1404 team:
15 Afon Bagshaw
14 Carwyn ap Myrddin (rep: Aron Evans 72)
13 Tom Hughes
12 Tiaan Loots (rep: Sam Jones 77)
11 Rhys Williams
10 Jacob Botica
9 Alex Schwarz (rep: Josh Leach 74)
1 Joe Simpson (rep: Jed Kerkin 68)
2 Evan Yardley (rep: George Roberts 77)
3 Ross Davies (rep: Tom Hughes (prop) 38)
4 Maredydd Francis ©
5 Shaun O’Rourke (rep: Robin Williams 16)
6 Dan Owen (rep: Jed Kerkin 63-68)
7 Will Bryan
8 Tim Grey (rep: Rhys Williams (back row) 72)
16 George Roberts
17 Tom Hughes
18 Jed Kerkin
19 Robin Williams
20 Rhys Williams
21 Josh Leach
22 Sam Jones
23 Aron Evans