- Seven try Merthyr put Whites to the sword
- Defeat number nine on the trot for Swansea
- Encouraging signs as Whites' performance improves despite scoreline
By: Paul Hopkins
Swansea were thrashed by a clinical Merthyr side, who are now in pole position to defend their Premiership title.
It was the home side who began well as they worked their way upfield following a break by winger Andrew Claypole, but the move came to an end when hooker Sion Jones was penalised for diving over the top of a ruck.
A powerful run by prop Tom Sloane presented fly half Liam Popham with a great platform and he found touch a metre short of the Merthyr try line. Lock Nick White lost control of the lineout and the Whites secured a turnover. Offside in midfield by the visitors saw full back Luke Griffiths kick his side into the lead.
Prop Louis Jones raced into the Swansea half and earned a penalty after the home defence killed the ball. Full back Matthew Jarvis kicked to touch and Jones powered over the whitewash from an unstoppable maul. Jarvis missed the conversion.
A powerful break by flanker Ed Siggery set Merthyr on the attack and the Whites were penalised for diving over the top. Scrum half Adam Hoskins sneaked possession out of the maul and a well worked move set up a try for winger Kyle Evans, who strode through a gap in midfield. Jarvis converted.
Claypole took a high ball near the touchline and sprinted to within a few metres of the line, forcing the visitors to kill the ball. Griffiths kicked to touch, but the Merthyr pack controlled the maul, securing a turnover.
Swansea were soon back on the attack with the forwards making ground over the twenty-two, but a handling error proved costly as the move broke down.
A barnstorming run by impressive centre Arron Pinches almost resulted in a Merthyr try, but the supporting flanker Osain Davies lost possession over the line.
Merthyr were awarded a penalty after a Swansea infringement at the lineout and fly half Gareth Davies kicked to the corner. Siggery collected the lineout and hooker Matthew Dwyer was driven over for his side’s third try. Jarvis converted.
On the stroke of half time winger Alexander Howman plucked a high ball out of the air and sent Merthyr on another attack. A clever chip through was picked up by Evans, who touched down for his second try and a bonus point for Merthyr. Jarvis converted.
Half-time:- Swansea 3 Merthyr 26
The visitors looked to add to their points tally almost immediately when Howman made a break down the wing, but he was shepherded into touch.
Pinches showed superb pace to break through the middle and he found Siggery in support. Quick ball out of the ruck saw Jarvis chip through and collect to score a fifth try. He missed the conversion.
Swansea grabbed a try of their own from a routine scrum, which saw centre J Rhys Williams pop up in midfield to score. Griffiths converted.
A soft penalty conceded by Evans, after he was adjudged to throw the ball into touch, gave the Whites a penalty, but the move broke down when Claypole held on after the tackle.
The home pack were penalised for diving over the top of a ruck and Gareth Davies found touch on the twenty-two. A period of scrappy play followed with neither side able to keep possession for more than a couple of phases.
Howman scored the pick of the tries when he took a long floated pass on the wing and sprinted home to score from half way. Jarvis converted.
Pinches raced through a weak Swansea defence and threw a long pass out wide for Dwyer to score a seventh try. Jarvis converted.
Next up for Swansea is a trip to Bridgend, while Merthyr host Bridgend.
Full-time:- Swansea 10 Merthyr 45
Tries:- J Rhys Williams (53)
Cons:- Luke Griffiths (54)
Pens:- Luke Griffiths (8)
Tries:- Louis Jones (12), Kyle Evans (20, 40+4), Matthew Dwyer (40+2, 79), Matthew Jarvis (47), Alexander Howman (73)
Cons:- Matthew Jarvis (21, 40+2, 40+5, 74, 80)
Venue:- St Helen’s, Swansea
Referee:- Aaron Parry
Weather:- Light cloud, 10C
Man of the match:- Arron Pinches
15 Luke Griffiths
14 Andrew Claypole
13 Ben Cambriani
12 J Rhys Williams (rep: Owen Howe 74)
11 Dan Howells (rep: R Rhys Williams 56)
10 Liam Popham
9 Rhodri Wells (rep: Tom Ham 54)
1 Tom Sloane © (rep: Jack Powell 63)
2 Sion Jones (rep: Josh Clark 63)
3 Richard Murphy (rep: Tom Harper 49)
4 Sam Kiley (rep: Ollie Thompson 49)
5 Matt Dodd
6 Jon Vaughan
7 Ben Davies
8 Morgan Morris (rep: David Griggs 15)
16 Josh Clark
17 Jack Powell
18 Tom Harper
19 Ollie Thompson
20 David Griggs
21 Tom Ham
22 Owen Howe
23 R Rhys Williams
15 Matthew Jarvis
14 Kyle Evans (rep: Richard Carter 73)
13 Gavin Dacey
12 Arron Pinches
11 Alexander Howman
10 Gareth Davies
9 Adam Hoskins (rep: James Soanes 59)
1 Louis Jones (rep: Rhys James 59)
2 Matthew Dwyer
3 Szaboics Pocsakai (rep: Joe Rees 59)
4 Jarryd Davies
5 Nick White ©
6 Ed Siggery
7 Osian Davies
8 Phil Rees (rep: Lee Evans 23-33, 59)
16 Rhys James
17 Rhys Williams
18 Joe Rees
19 Lee Evans
20 Ben Sier
21 James Soanes
22 Richard Powell
23 Richard Carter