By: Paul Hopkins
Swansea fell to a disappointing opening day defeat to Llanelli at Parc Y Scarlets but managed to secure a consolation four try bonus point.
The visitors were awarded a penalty from the kick off after the Llanelli pack dived over the top of a ruck. Fly half Dan Edwards’ effort at goal sailed wide of the posts though.
Swansea continued to attack with centre Gareth Rees and winger Llien Morgan making breaks out wide, but Edwards scuffed a drop goal attempt well wide of the posts.
The Llanelli backs looked to stretch their legs, and scrum half Harri Williams made a half break, catching the Whites’ defence offside in midfield. Fly half Tal Rees chipped the penalty to the corner with lock Morgan Jones rising high with hooker Llew Phillips-Taylor claiming the try. Full back Josh Phillips converted.
Williams had the ball ripped out of his hands at the base of a scrum, but the visitors were unable to capitalise as lock Jay Williams dropped a simple pass.
Winger Rhys Harries almost added a second try as he raced towards the corner, but an excellent tackle by full back Harri Houston prevented the score. Swansea were penalised for offside though and Rees dinked the ball into the corner. After a patient build up by the forwards, number eight Nathan Hart squeezed over for a try. Josh Phillips converted.
Lock Lewis Marsh charged through the middle to set up a Swansea attack but winger Jac Davies pounced on a loose ball and hacked upfield for Williams to chase. Winger Rhys Harries then chipped ahead and with Houston making a mess of collecting the ball to allow Harries to hack forward and score an opportunist try. Josh Phillips converted.
Hooker Owen Thomas burst out of a ruck with replacement winger Matthew Jenkins making good yards on the wing, forcing the home defence offside in midfield. Edwards kicked to the corner and Thomas powered forward from the lineout with prop Richard Murphy on hand to claim his side’s first try. Edwards converted.
Swansea secured a turnover inside the Llanelli 22 and the home forwards were penalised for killing the ball. With the game becoming a little niggly, both captains were spoken to by referee Jason Bessant. Edwards chipped to the corner from the penalty and flanker Will Hickey collected the lineout before scrum half Harvey Nash got quick ball out for Houston to step inside to score. Edwards converted.
Half-time:- Llanelli 21-14 Swansea
Swansea gave away the first penalty of the second half by failing to release after the tackle. Josh Phillips extended his side’s lead with a successful three pointer.
Replacement full back Iestyn Hopkins made a superb 40 metre break upfield, but was promptly turned over. Instead, substitute fly half Harrison Button pounced on a chip ahead and a Whites mistake allowed him to score in the corner. Josh Phillips missed the conversion from out wide.
It was almost a second for Button from a similar scenario but this time Hopkins tracked back and forced the winger into touch.
Hickey took a lineout as the Whites ventured into the Llanelli half and a powerful rolling maul forced the home side offside with Edwards finding touch in the corner. Hickey again collected the lineout and a rolling maul saw Thomas crash over for a try. Edwards converted.
Josh Phillips sprinted through a couple of weak tackles, but a mistake enabled the visitors to counterattack. A clever crossfield kick almost resulted in a try, but the home side defused the situation.
Despite an advancing Whites scrum, replacement scrum half Luke Davies picked up the ball against he head and raced towards the line, finding flanker Luca Giannini, who threw an inside pass back to Luke Davies, who scored. Josh Phillips converted.
The Whites pack was penalised for an infringement at the scrum on half way with Josh Phillips opting to kick at goal. The full back was successful with his effort to take his side into an 18 point lead with fewer than 10 minutes left on the clock.
Edwards chipped to the 22 from a penalty as the Whites went in search of a try, but the home side defending the resulting maul well and drove Swansea backwards.
The visitors came again though and were awarded a penalty on the 22 after the Llanelli defence killed the ball. Edwards kicked to the corner and Jay Williams took the lineout with replacement hooker Garan Williams driving over for a try. Edwards missed the conversion.
A clever little chip ahead by Josh Phillips caused panic in the Swansea defence and they gave away a late penalty. Josh Phillips chose to kick to the corner and replacement flanker Jacob Lloyd Lewis took the lineout. Following a few phases on the Swansea line, centre Jack Price crashed over for a try. Josh Phillips converted.
Full-time:- Llanelli 46-26 Swansea
Tries:- Llew Phillips-Taylor (8), Nathan Hart (16), Rhys Harris (22), Harrison Button (46), Luke Davies (67), Jack Price (80+2)
Cons:- Josh Phillips (9, 17, 23, 68, 80+3)
Pens:- Josh Phillips (44, 72)
Tries:- Richard Murphy (32), Harri Houston (40+1), Owen Thomas (56), Garan Williams (78)
Cons:- Dan Edwards (33, 40+2, 57)
Venue:- Parc Y Scarlets, Llanelli
Weather:- Cloudy, 16C
Referee:- Jason Bessant
Man of the match:- Josh Phillips
15 Josh Phillips
14 Jac Davies
13 Joe Hutchings (rep: Tomos Davies 79)
12 Jack Price
11 Rhys Harries
10 Tal Rees (rep: Harrison Button 27)
9 Harri Williams (rep: Luke Davies 57)
1 Rhys Davies (rep: Rhys Cherry 63)
2 Llew Phillips-Taylor © (rep: Tom Zoogah 57)
3 Tomas Pritchard (rep: Cori Phillips 74)
4 Joe Greaves
5 Morgan Jones
6 Ryan Jenkins (rep: Elis Rees-Lewis 63)
7 Luca Gianini (rep: Jacob Lloyd Lewis 79)
8 Nathan Hart
16 Tom Zoogah
17 Rhys Cherry
18 Cori Phillips
19 Elis Rees-Lewis
20 Jacob Lloyd Lewis
21 Luke Davies
22 Tomos Davies
23 Harrison Button
15 Harri Houston (rep: Iestyn Hopkins 41)
14 Llien Morgan
13 Gareth Rees
12 Kieran Charles (rep: Matthew Jenkins 14)
11 Morgan Rees
10 Dan Edwards
9 Harvey Nash (rep: Connor Tantum 51)
1 Tom Sloane © (rep: Cameron Jones 60)
2 Owen Thomas (rep: Garan Williams 60)
3 Richard Murphy (rep: Ellis Fackrell 65)
4 Lewis Marsh
5 Jay Williams
6 Will Hickey
7 Callum Bowden (rep: Lewis Jones 60)
8 Jon Fox (rep: Cai Davies 51)
16 Garan Williams
17 Cameron Jones
18 Ellis Fackrell
19 Lewis Jones
20 Cai Davies
21 Connor Tantum
22 Iestyn Hopkins
23 Matthew Jenkins