By: Paul Hopkins
Swansea withheld long periods of pressure on their own line to defeat Carmarthen Quins for a first Premiership victory of the season.
It was the home side who had the first points opportunity inside the opening five minutes when the All Whites’ pack was penalised for a scrummaging infringement, but fly half Jac Wilson pulled his effort well wide of the posts.
Moments later, centre Nic Reynolds looked to have broken through the Swansea defence, but play was brought back for crossing. Instead, a quick tap and go gained important territory for the visitors.
The home side spread play to their backs with Reynolds brought down just short of the 22 and a deliberate tap down gave the Quins a penalty, from which Wilson found touch on the 22. Lock Lee Taylor collected the lineout, but the visitors repelled the initial drive before prop Steff Phillips became isolated and held on after the tackle.
The Quins were penalised for a high tackle on centre Hanno Dirksen so full back Cai Evans kicked to touch. Lock Matt Dodd rose high at the lineout with centre Callum Carson wriggling through a tackle, finding hooker Garan Williams in support. Flanker Will Hickey charged towards the line, but support was slow to arrive and he was penalised.
A 10 metre maul by the home side earned a penalty and Wilson found touch mid-way between halfway and the Swansea 22. A second drive saw the Quins power into the 22, but a poor pass by Wilson was gratefully intercepted by Carson, who raced 60 metres upfield to touch down under the posts. Evans converted.
Prop Cameron Jones powered through a tackle on the wing and fed Matthew Aubrey, but the scrum half stepped into touch under pressure with the line seemingly at his mercy.
The visitors were penalised for offside at another maul with both captains spoken to by referee Elgan Williams. The Quins drove forward from the lineout, but outstanding defence by replacement number eight Charlie Davies sent the visitors’ backwards, with flanker Ed Siggery penalised for holding on after the tackle.
Offside in midfield gave the home side a penalty and Wilson kicked to touch deep inside the Whites’ 22, although a knock forward following the lineout brought an end to the move.
The All Whites looked to attack from deep, which caused panic in the Quins’ defence and resulted in prop Ben Leung being yellow carded for a deliberate tap down. The man advantage paid dividends for the visitors immediately as from the lineout, lock Jay Williams showed pace and power to hold off scrum half Aron Hemmings to touch down in the corner. Evans converted.
As the half began to draw to a conclusion, a handling error by Jones gifted Carmarthen an attacking scrum just short of the 22. Despite being a man down at the set piece, the Quins drove Swansea backwards and earned a penalty, which Wilson kicked to the corner.
The home side reduced the deficit with a timely score on the stroke of half time when centre Josh Batcup took a crash ball to claim the Quins’ first try. Wilson converted.
Half-time:- Carmarthen Quins 7-14 Swansea
An outstanding tackle by Carson forced winger Dale Ford into touch as he tried to counterattack from his own 22. The visitors’ forwards powered towards the line from the lineout and got quick ball out wide for winger Curtis Davies to sprint up to within a metre of the line. Swansea kept the ball well with Carson stretching over to score under the posts. Evans converted.
A good break by Carson was supported by flanker Callum Bowden, but he held onto possession for too long on the ground. Wilson found touch with the penalty and Taylor took the lineout, but the Quins’ attack didn’t last long with Leung penalised.
Evans found touch with a 50-22 kick inside the Quins’ 22, but replacement hooker Owen Thomas failed to throw straight at the lineout to give the visitors a reprieve.
The home side attacked through Batcup with Swansea penalised for offside in midfield. Wilson found touch inside the visitors’ 22 with replacement lock Haydn Pugh taking the lineout, but substitute prop Tom Northy was yellow carded for a professional foul.
A second lineout was well taken and gave the Quins’ forwards a platform to stretch play out wide with Siggery crashing over for a try.
The Quins’ hopes of a comeback didn’t last for long though after am mistake gifted the All Whites possession inside their own half with Thomas able to squeeze over for a try in the corner. Evans missed the conversion.
Pugh took a lineout and full back Leon Randall tried a bit of adventure with a chip through but winger Kalum Evans was unable to collect the ball and instead was penalised for a high tackle on the defending Evans.
The home side were awarded a penalty after the Swansea pack collapsed a scrum with replacement fly half Steffan Marshall finding touch deep in the corner. A poor lineout throw was stolen by Hickey and the visitors were able to clear, albeit with a kick that sailed out on the full.
Pugh collected the second lineout and a pass out wide was cynically tapped down by Aubrey, who was promptly yellow carded. Hooker Torin Myhill threw a crooked lineout to give the visitors a much needed let off.
A third Swansea yellow carded was handed to Thomas for a professional foul and a quick tap penalty saw Leung crash over for a try. Marshall converted.
In the dying seconds Swansea gave away a penalty at the scrum with Marshall finding touch on the 22. The home side threw the kitchen sink at the Swansea line and were eventually awarded a penalty, from which they opted for a five metre scrum. Hickey was the All Whites’ hero though when he ripped possession from a ruck to celebrate a hard earned victory.
Full-time:- Carmarthen Quins 21-26 Swansea
Tries:- Josh Batcup (40+4), Ed Siggery (63), Ben Leung (80+4)
Cons:- Jac Wilson (40+5, 64), Steffan Marshall (80+5)
Yellow cards:- Ben Leung (33), Matthew Aubrey (80), Owen Thomas (80+3)
Tries:- Callum Carson (20, 44), Jay Williams (34), Owen Thomas (67)
Cons:- Cai Evans (21, 35, 45)
Yellow cards:- Tom Northy (61)
Venue:- The Park, Carmarthen
Weather:- Cloudy, 10C
Referee:- Elgan Williams
Man of the match:- Will Hickey
Carmarthen Quins team:
15 Leon Randell
14 Dale Ford (rep: Connor Allen 40-42)
13 Nic Reynolds
12 Josh Batcup (rep: Gethin Davies 64)
11 Kalum Evans
10 Jac Wilson (rep: Steffan Marshall 73)
9 Aron Hemmings (rep: Rhodri Davies 54)
1 Steff Phillips (rep: Oliver Evans 57)
2 Torin Myhill
3 Ben Leung
4 Josh Helps (rep: Haydn Pugh 57)
5 Lee Taylor ©
6 Ed Siggery (rep: Ryan Bean 68)
7 Richard Bloomfield
8 Lewys Millin
16 Oliver Evans
17 Ben Edwards
18 Connor Allen
19 Ryan Bean
20 Haydn Pugh
21 Gethin Davies
22 Rhodri Davies
23 Steffan Marshall
15 Cai Evans
14 Curtis Davies (rep: Cameron Jones 65-71)
13 Hanno Dirksen
12 Callum Carson
11 Gareth Rees
10 James Davies (rep: Liam Popham 68)
9 Matthew Aubrey
1 Cameron Jones (rep: Tom Northy 57)
2 Garan Williams (rep: Owen Thomas 52)
3 Jordan Pritchard (rep: Richard Murphy 42)
4 Matt Dodd
5 Jay Williams
6 Will Hickey
7 Callum Bowden
8 Jon Fox © (rep: Charlie Davies 21 (rep: Garan Williams 80+6))
16 Owen Thomas
17 Tom Northy
18 Richard Murphy
19 Charlie Davies
20 Billy Moxey
21 Connor Tantum
22 Kieran Charles
23 Liam Popham