By: Paul Hopkins
Swansea climbed to seventh place in the Indigo Group Premiership as they outfoxed the Quins to earn an outstanding bonus point victory in difficult conditions at Carmarthen Park.
It was a dream start for the visitors with hooker Owen Thomas making a typical burst forward from a lineout, before the ball was swept out wide for winger Harri Houston who backed his pace to score in the corner. Fly half Rhys Jones missed the conversion.
Soon after the Quins were awarded a penalty at the scrum after the visitors’ front row drove in crooked. Full back Jac Wilson made no mistake with his effort at goal.
Swansea forced an error at the restart to gain an attacking scrum inside the Quins’ 22, but the Carmarthen front eight won a relieving penalty thanks to a powerful drive.
Number eight Callum Bowden picked up a loose Quins pass and managed to hack the ball downfield, and it forced centre Josh Batcup to kick straight into touch, gifting the visitors an attacking lineout.
An infringement at the lineout gave Swansea a penalty, which Rhys Jones kicked to the corner. Lock Lewis Jones rose high to collect the ball and a weak tackle let centre Joe Thomas in for a try. Rhys Jones converted.
A superb kick by fly half Harri Williams sailed over the head of Houston into touch for a 50/22. Lock Josh Helps took the lineout and was supported by Batcup, who charged forward, but play was brought back for a Carmarthen penalty. Williams opted to chip to the corner.
Helps again took the lineout, but support was too slow to arrive and he was penalised for holding on after the tackle.
The home side were awarded another penalty at the scrum and Williams found touch inside the Swansea 22. Number eight Tom Phillips rose at the front of the lineout to take the ball, with Batcup trying a crash ball through the middle. Williams the chipped ahead but knew play was coming back for a penalty, which Wilson converted from in front of the posts.
The Quins came inches close to a first try when winger Kalum Evans tried to intercept a pass, but he was unable to hold onto the ball.
It was the All Whites’ turn to be awarded a penalty at a scrum and Rhys Jones found touch a metre inside the 22. Lewis Jones took the lineout, but the ball was lost forward at the driving maul.
The home side tried to attack from half way, but Wilson was almost squeezed out near the touchline, though he managed to get a decent touch finding kick away. Swansea failed to clear though with scrum half Rhodri Lewis’ kick sailing out on the full.
Flanker Caleb Salmon charged forward from the set piece but Owen Thomas stole possession at the maul, allowing his side to clear long.
On the stroke of half time, Joe Thomas made a superb break down the wing, but the supporting Lewis was well wrapped up and lost the ball forward.
Half-time:- Carmarthen 6-12 Swansea
There was a somewhat upturn in form for the visitors’ pack after the interval, who were awarded a scrummaging penalty. Rhys Jones chipped to the corner and Lewis Jones took the lineout, but a second infringement in succession saw Evans yellow carded, with Rhys Jones kicking the three pointer.
Centre Luke Scully’s high kick was half charged down, but it worked out well for the All Whites as winger Matthew Jenkins sprinted down the touch line, with a fortuitous pass finding full back Brandon Wood, who touched down for his side’s third try. Rhys Jones missed the conversion.
Williams spilled a routine chip forward by Scully to put his side under unnecessary pressure. The visitors’ pack drove their counterparts backwards, earning a penalty, which replacement fly half Dan Edwards chipped into the 22.
Owen Thomas powered forward from a maul, with lock Matt Dodd on a secondary drive, before the ball was fed out wide to flanker Lloyd Evans for a try. Edwards missed the conversion.
Replacement scrum half Rhodri Davies side-stepped his way towards the line, but he threw a loose pass that was crucially intercepted by replacement prop Tom Sloane to prevent a certain try.
The Quins were awarded a free kick at the lineout, but chose a scrum midway between halfway and the Swansea 22. However, the visitors were penalised for delaying the put in to the scrum, with Williams kicking to the corner.
Carmarthen made the Whites’ moment of ill-discipline pay as a well worked lineout saw replacement prop Sion Jones crash over for a try in the corner. Wilson missed the conversion.
Davies took a quick tap penalty to take the Quins up to the Swansea 22, but replacement prop Connor Allen lost possession, allowing the Whites to clear long.
The visitors came close to scoring a fifth try when Edwards linked up with Jenkins in a neat move, but the winger was crowded out with Davies able to box kick clear.
A superb scrum by the Swansea pack forced the Quins backwards, earning a penalty. Edwards turned down the kickable penalty to chip to the corner. Lewis Jones took the lineout and Scully was held up just short of the line, though solid defence by the Quins held the visitors out.
Play was brought back an earlier penalty with Edwards again kicking to the corner, but the Quins’ defence held out and earned a scrum by holding the ball up in the maul.
Helps took a lineout just shy of halfway as the home side looked for a way back into the game, but a long booming kick by Houston gave Swansea important late territory. The ball was touched in flight to rub salt into the Quins’ wounds.
With the last play of the game Joe Thomas was penalised for holding on after the tackle and Wilson found touch just over half way. Davies took a quick tap penalty and made 20 metres, with replacement hooker Sam O’Connor picking up to score. Wilson converted to secure a losing bonus point.
Next up for Carmarthen is a trip to sixth place Aberavon, while Swansea travel to Merthyr, who are struggling down in tenth.
Full-time:- Carmarthen 18-25 Swansea
Tries:- Sion Jones (66), Sam O’Connor (80+6)
Cons:- Jac Wilson (80+7)
Pens:- Jac Wilson (7, 24)
Yellow cards:- Kalum Evans (45)
Tries:- Harri Houston (4), Joe Thomas (15), Brandon Wood (49), Lloyd Evans (56)
Cons:- Rhys Jones (16)
Pens:- Rhys Jones (46)
Venue:- The Park, Carmarthen
Weather:- Light rain showers, 12C
Referee:- Steffan Edwards
Man of the match:- Brandon Wood
15 Jac Wilson
14 Dylan Richards
13 Scott Williams
12 Josh Batcup
11 Kalum Evans
10 Harri Williams
9 Efan Jones (rep: Rhodri Davies 57)
1 Ifan James (rep: Sion Jones 60-80+2)
2 Lewis Morgan (rep: Sam O’Connor 60)
3 Ben Leung (rep: Connor Allen 60)
4 Lee Taylor
5 Josh Helps
6 Caleb Salmon (rep: Ryan Bean 57)
7 Teddy Leatherbarrow (rep: Tom Curry 60)
8 Tom Phillips © (rep: Elis Lewis 57)
16 Sam O’Connor
17 Sion Jones
18 Connor Allen
19 Ryan Bean
20 Tom Curry
21 Elis Lewis
22 Rhodri Davies
23 Matthew Williams
15 Brandon Wood
14 Matthew Jenkins
13 Joe Thomas
12 Luke Scully
11 Harri Houston
10 Rhys Jones (rep: Dan Edwards 53)
9 Rhodri Lewis (rep: Gareth J Rees 60)
1 Freddie Chapman (rep: Tom Sloane 53)
2 Owen Thomas (rep: Finn Thomas 41-51)
3 Ed Thompson (rep: Tom Crockett 63)
4 Lewis Jones
5 Matt Dodd (rep: Lloyd Ashley 60 (rep: Lewis Marsh 80+3))
6 Sam Pailor
7 Lloyd Evans
8 Callum Bowden ©
16 Finn Thomas
17 Tom Sloane
18 Tom Crockett
19 Lloyd Ashley
20 Lewis Marsh
21 Gareth J Rees
22 Dan Edwards
23 Llien Morgan