By: Paul Hopkins
A youthful Swansea side fell to a disappointing defeat at the hands of Llanelli to all but end their Fosters Cup hopes at the competition’s half way stage.
Centre Jedd Evans was the only survivor of the starting line-up for the Whites’ win over Bridgend last Saturday as they continued their policy of using a mixture of fringe and permit players. Llanelli did the same.
Things looked promising for the visitors early on when a huge scrum forced the home pack backwards and they gave away a penalty. Fly half Rory Garrett duly kicked the three points.
Offside in midfield by the All Whites gave fly half Ioan Hughes the chance to find touch deep inside the twenty-two. Lock Jordan Evans almost powered over from the lineout, but he lost the ball forward in tricky conditions.
Full back Kalum Evans began a promising move for Llanelli as he made a break on the wing. Centre Paul Davies showed great handling skills in the rain, but fellow centre Nathan Edwards lost the ball forward.
Swansea winger Andrew Rees Spowart hacked forward a loose ball and the home defence struggled to deal with it, resulting in an attacking scrum five. From the set piece Llanelli killed the ball and Garrett doubled the lead with a penalty goal.
Llanelli took the lead after 22 minutes when winger Nathan Brooks made a break and fed fellow winger Matthew Brewer, who scored a try in the corner. Hughes converted.
The home side were unlucky not to score again when they spun the ball quickly out wide, but Hughes’ final pass sailed into touch.
A second try from Llanelli came out of nothing when flanker Nathan Hart ripped a ball out of the tackle and caught the defence by surprise by racing clear to score from half way. Hughes converted.
A well weighted cross field kick by Hughes was chased down by Brewer, but full back Jonathan Bayliss got back to defend. However, a quick lineout caught Swansea off guard and resulted in a simple try for Hart. Hughes missed the conversion.
When scrum half Mike Davies was caught in possession, he held onto the ball for too long. Llanelli opted to kick for territory, but they were penalised at the lineout.
Things went from bad to worse for the All Whites on the stroke of half time when centre Ewan Gully was issued a yellow card by 19-year-old referee Ben Breakspear for a deliberate tap down.
Half-time:- Llanelli 19 Swansea 6
The home side continued their dominant form after the interval when Kalum Evans made a break, but a forward pass brought an end to the move.
Llanelli secured a bonus point when Swansea prop Dan Kenny dropped a pass, which was picked up by the grateful number eight Trystan Lloyd, who battered upfield. He fed Edwards who sprinted forward and threw a scoring pass to Brooks. Hughes missed the conversion.
A quick tap penalty by replacement number eight Owain Morgan sent substitute hooker Craig Thomas on a run to the line, but support was too slow to arrive and the All Whites secured a turnover.
The home side were temporarily reduced to 14 men when Paul Davies was sin-binned for persistent offside.
Swansea began to run direct at their opponents and could have scored through Bayliss, but he was tackled into touch on the twenty-two.
Ill-discipline continued in the Llanelli ranks and Brooks was the latest to be shown a yellow card for a deliberate tap down. Garrett kicked to the corner and replacement hooker Fenton Holder looked to have scored, but his try was disallowed for blocking.
Another penalty for the All Whites was again chipped to the corner by Garrett. This time an unstoppable maul to the line almost resulted in a try for Jones, but referee Breakspear awarded a penalty try for a professional foul and showed flanker Lloyd Pike a yellow card. Garrett converted.
Replacement scrum half Rhodri Wells was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on substitute centre Johnny Lewis. Hughes kicked to the corner and lock Ed Curtis came desperately close to scoring, but a huge tackle dislodged the ball.
The visitors were determined to score a consolation and bonus point try and replacement centre Lewis Humphreys, Bayliss and Garrett showed good pace to link up in midfield, but the latter was tackled into touch, bringing an end to proceedings.
Next up for Llanelli is a home match against Llandovery and the Whites host Carmarthen – both matches in the Fosters Cup.
Full-time:- Llanelli 24 Swansea 13
Tries:- Matthew Brewer (22), Nathan Hart (27, 30), Nathan Brooks (47)
Cons:- Ioan Hughes (23, 28)
Yellow cards:- Paul Davies (67), Nathan Brooks (73), Lloyd Pike (78)
Tries:- Penalty try (78)
Cons:- Rory Garrett (79)
Pens:- Rory Garrett (3, 19)
Yellow cards:- Ewan Gully (40), Rhodri Wells (80+4)
Venue:- Parc Y Scarlets Training Pitch, Llanelli
Referee:- Ben Breakspear
Weather:- Rain, 14C
Man of the match:- Nathan Hart
15 Kalum Evans (rep: Leon Randall 61)
14 Matthew Brewer (rep: Lawrence Thomas 68)
13 Nathan Edwards (rep: Johnny Lewis 61)
12 Paul Davies
11 Nathan Brooks
10 Ioan Hughes
9 Matthew Flanagan
1 Daniel Jacobs (rep: Calvin Williams 56)
2 Tom Curry (rep: Craig Thomas 48)
3 Richard Bassett (rep: Liam Tobias 78)
4 Ed Curtis
5 Jordan Evans (rep: Jack Davies 48)
6 Lloyd Pike
7 Nathan Hart
8 Trystan Lloyd (rep: Owain Morgan 61)
16 Calvin Williams
17 Craig Thomas
18 Liam Tobias
19 Jack Davies
20 Owain Morgan
21 Lawrence Thomas
22 Johnny Lewis
23 Leon Randall
15 Jonathan Bayliss
14 Richard Thomas (rep: Luke Griffiths 48)
13 Jedd Evans (rep: Lewis Humphreys 65)
12 Ewan Gully
11 Andrew Rees-Spowart
10 Rory Garrett
9 Mike Jones (rep: Rhodri Wells 79)
1 Dan Kenny (rep: Richard Murphy 48)
2 Alex Dunham (rep: Fenton Holder 48)
3 Alex Williams (rep: Jack Cambriani 48)
4 Gavin Ronan
5 Adam Thresher (rep: Ollie Young 48)
6 Chris James (rep: Steffan Gibbon 56)
7 Andrew Hughes
8 Ross Barnes
16 Jack Cambriani
17 Fenton Holder
18 Richard Murphy
19 Ollie Young
20 Steffan Gibbon
21 Rhodri Wells
22 Lewis Humphreys
23 Luke Griffiths