By: Paul Hopkins
The All Whites ran in six tries to defeat a struggling Neath side who put up a brave fight at a wet Gnoll.
It was the visitors who struck first when the pack remained patient, going through multiple phases in midfield, before full back R Rhys Williams burst through the middle and held off a tackle to score. Fly half Steffen Williams converted.
Scrum half Tom Ham picked up a loose ball and raced up to the half way line, but the visitors were penalised for holding on after the tackle. Opposite number Nicky Griffiths took a quick tap penalty, but his side were unable to make any significant yards so fly half Callum Hall grubber kicked to touch.
Winger James Roberts showed a superb turn of pace as he sprinted over the twenty-two, but he failed to pass out wide and was tackled.
Swansea were soon back on the attack as number eight Jon Fox powered across the gain line with centre Mike Evans in support. Lock Sam Kiley was stopped a metre short of the line, but play was brought back for a scrum five. The Neath pack collapsed the scrum and Steffen Williams kicked to the corner, but the home side were able to hold up the resulting maul.
Another scrummaging infringement by the home forwards saw Steffen Williams kick to the corner with a penalty. Fox drove forward and R Rhys Williams was stopped close to the line, only for the Neath defence to give away another penalty.
Steffen Williams kicked to touch again and from the lineout hooker Ifan Phillips was driven over for a second Whites try. Steffen Williams converted.
Centre J Rhys Williams made a break through the middle as Swansea looked to attack again and the home side were penalised for offside in midfield. Steffen Williams kicked the three pointer.
R Rhys Williams evaded a tackle as he raced into the Neath twenty-two, but support was too slow to arrive and he was penalised for holding onto possession on the ground.
Hall found touch on the Swansea twenty-two with a penalty, but the Whites managed to steal possession at the lineout and were able to clear.
Winger Ben Cambriani attempted to counter attack, but was unable to release the ball in the tackle so Hall found touch in a promising position. Lock Lee Evans took the lineout and flanker Alun Jones was driven over for a try in the corner. Hal converted on the stroke of half time.
Half-time:- Neath 7 Swansea 17
A poor handling error by R Rhys Williams on his own twenty-two gifted Neath an early attacking opportunity in the second half.
Evans charged forward and the Whites were penalised for offside at the ruck. Hall found touch a metre from the Swansea line, but the All Blacks over complicated the set piece and the visitors were able to clear.
Prop Tom Sloane picked up a loose ball at the lineout to send R Rhys Williams away, but he was ankle tapped. Kiley then burst through the middle, but the supporting replacement scrum half Chris Morgans spilled possession forward.
A superb link up between lock Jay Williams and Fox caught the Neath defence on the backfoot and quick ball out wide saw Cambriani pop up in midfield to race clear for a third try. Steffen Williams converted.
Neath were straight back on the attack and earned a penalty when the Whites’ defence crept offside in midfield. Hall found touch in the corner, but the ball became trapped in the ruck and the home side were awarded a scrum five.
After a number of issues at the scrum, referee Aled Liddington’s patience with props Ben Uphill and Greg Cunniffe finally gave as he yellow carded them.
When the scrum finally took place the Neath forwards pushed their counterparts backwards at the rate of knots, giving Liddington no option but to award a penalty try.
The visitors hit back though when Jay Williams collected a lineout in the Neath twenty-two and Ham fired a quick pass out for J Rhys Williams to score under the posts. Steffen Williams converted.
Then, out of nothing Steffen Williams extended the Whites’ lead as he kicked a snap drop goal after his side attacked inside the Neath half.
Neath desperately tried to defend a wave of Swansea attacks, but finally J Rhys Williams charged through to score under the posts. Replacement fly half Luke Griffiths converted.
Hall found touch deep inside the Swansea twenty-two with a penalty and from the lineout replacement prop Gareth Wyn Lloyd mauled over for a try in the corner. Hall converted.
But the visitors regained the ball straight from the restart and a neat move between replacement hooker Paul John and Morgans sent Evans over for a late try inside injury time. Luke Griffiths converted.
Next up for Neath is a trip to Ebbw Vale in the league, while Swansea host Bargoed in the cup second round.
Full-time:- Neath 21 Swansea 48
Tries:- Alun Jones (40+5), Penalty try (60), Gareth Wyn Lloyd (78)
Cons:- Callum Hall (40+6, 79)
Yellow cards:- Ben Uphill (59)
Tries:- R Rhys Williams (8), Ifan Phillips (27), Ben Cambriani (53), J Rhys Williams (63, 74), Mike Evans (80)
Cons:- Steffen Williams (9, 28, 54, 64), Luke Griffiths (75, 80+1)
Pens:- Steffen Williams (30)
DGs:- Steffen Williams (68)
Yellow cards:- Greg Cunniffe (59)
Venue:- The Gnoll, Neath
Referee:- Aled Liddington
Weather:- Cloudy, 9C
Man of the match:- R Rhys Williams
15 Jordan Rees
14 James Roberts (rep: Jon Lum 65)
13 Jarrad Rees
12 Aaron Bramwell ©
11 Alec Jenkins
10 Callum Hall
9 Nicky Griffiths (rep: Nathan Griffiths 72)
1 Ben Uphill (rep: Gareth Wyn Lloyd 69)
2 Sion Crocker (rep: Connah Vaughan 65)
3 Tyla Murvai (rep: Keiran Griffiths 65)
4 Lee Evans
5 Rhys Morgan (rep: Ioan Jones 72)
6 Craig Hill (rep: Leon Ward 41)
7 Alun Jones (rep: Gareth Wyn Lloyd 60-69, Dyfan Ceredig 69)
8 Aled Cockwell
16 Nathan Griffiths
17 Connah Vaughan
18 Ioan Jones
19 Jon Lum
20 Leon Ward
21 Dyfan Ceredig
22 Gareth Wyn Lloyd
23 Keiran Griffiths
15 R Rhys Williams (rep: Ryan Griffiths 65)
14 Gareth Rees
13 Mike Evans
12 J Rhys Williams
11 Ben Cambriani
10 Steffen Williams
9 Tom Ham (rep: Chris Morgans 48)
1 Tom Sloane (rep: Jack Powell 54-61, 69)
2 Ifan Phillips
3 Greg Cunniffe (rep: Mitchell Walsh 69)
4 Sam Kiley (rep: Matt Dodd 64)
5 Jay Williams
6 Charlie Davies
7 Callum Bowden
8 Jon Fox © (rep: Mitchell Walsh 60-69, Duane Eager 69)
16 Paul John
17 Jack Powell
18 Mitchell Walsh
19 Matt Dodd
20 Duane Eager
21 Chris Morgans
22 Luke Griffiths
23 Ryan Griffiths