Swansea booked a place in the quarter-finals of the WRU Cup with a hard fought win over Bargoed at a wet and windy St Helen’s.
A torrential downpour in the opening few minutes did nothing to dampen the spirits of the home side, who almost took advantage of a powerful maul, but the Bargoed defence remained firm and were able to repel the attack.
It was the visitors who gave away the first penalty as they tried to run the ball out of defence. With the Bargoed defence getting ready for the kick at goal, a surprise tap penalty by scrum half Chris Morgans saw the home side swing the ball out wide for hooker Ifan Phillips to score in the corner. Steffen Williams converted.
Prop Jack Powell was penalised for offside at the ruck and fly half Calum Jones found touch inside the Swansea twenty-two. Flanker Louis Blacker took the lineout as the Bargoed forwards rumbled onwards, earning another penalty.
Sensing a huge advantage up front, the visitors opted for a scrum five under the posts, but a crooked feed gave Swansea some much needed respite.
Winger Ashley Norton dropped a routine kick inside his own twenty-two, but a mistake by the home side gave Bargoed a chance to clear.
With tempers beginning the flare, an off the ball push by Blacker gave Swansea a penalty, but fly half Steffen Williams missed the relatively straightforward kick at goal.
A tricky bounce caught out full back Julian Mogg inside his own twenty-two and he was forced to ground play dead over his own try line. From the scrum five, a Morgans grubber kick almost resulted in a try for full back Luke Griffiths, but he fumbled over the line.
Centre Mike Evans made a break over the twenty-two and the visitors were penalised for diving over the top of a ruck. Steffen Williams kicked the three pointer.
A poor grubber kick by Jones was picked up by Steffen Williams, who fed Phillips, but the rest of the pack was slow to arrive and Bargoed were awarded a relieving penalty.
Half-time:- Swansea 10 Bargoed 0
It was the worst possible start to the second half for Bargoed when number eight Ben Fry saw yellow for a dangerous tackle. To make matters even more difficult, the gale force wind enjoyed by the home side in the opening period suddenly dropped at half time.
A superb break by Mogg sparked an attack for the visitors, but Jones’ grubber kick bounced over the whitewash agonisingly the other side of the dead ball line.
An error at the lineout by the visitors gave the Whites an opportunity to attack and Jones was yellow carded for killing the ball. Swansea opted for a scrum five and after a few failed attempts the visitors were able to secure a turnover.
Prop Alex Jeffries came within inches of scoring for the home side as he chased down a grubber kick, but Mogg managed to scramble back to shepherd the ball dead.
A superb chip through by winger Nathan Trowbridge saw Luke Griffiths sprint upfield, but the Bargoed defence got back to defend with replacement scrum half James Leadbeater clearing to touch.
Bargoed looked to counter attack out wide through replacement winger Jack Bunyan, but he wasted a three man overlap by throwing a loose pass into the grateful hands of opposite number Ryan Griffiths, who cleared.
The visitors won a scrum against the head, forcing the Swansea pack to kill the ball. Jones kicked to the corner, but replacement lock Matt Dodd crucially stole the lineout.
Morgans took a quick tap and raced over half way, but hooker Rhys Buckley was penalised for offside and became the visitors’ third man to see yellow. A fourth yellow followed when Norton tackled Ryan Griffiths above the shoulder.
The Whites were back on the attack with the forwards inching up to the Bargoed twenty-two, but replacement prop Richard Murphy was penalised for holding on after the tackle. It mattered little though as the referee blew up for full time in the last play.
Next up for Swansea is a home match against Cross Keys, while Bargoed host Cardiff.
Full-time:- Swansea 10 Bargoed 0
Tries:- Ifan Phillips (4)
Cons:- Steffen Williams (5)
Pens:- Steffen Williams (28)
Yellow cards:- Ben Fry (41), Calum Jones (50), Rhys Buckley (74), Ashley Norton (80+1)
Venue:- St Helen’s, Swansea
Weather:- Heavy rain, 9C
Man of the match:- Ifan Phillips
15 Luke Griffiths
14 Ryan Griffiths
13 Gareth Rees
12 Mike Evans
11 Nathan Trowbridge
10 Steffen Williams (rep: Josh Thomas 66)
9 Tom Ham
1 Jack Powell (rep: Richard Murphy 69)
2 Ifan Phillips
3 Alex Jeffries (rep: Mitchell Walsh 69)
4 Sam Kiley (rep: Jon Vaughan 60)
5 Jay Williams (rep: Matt Dodd 41)
6 Duane Eager ©
7 Ben Davies
8 Charlie Davies
16 Paul John
17 Richard Murphy
18 Mitchell Walsh
19 Matt Dodd
20 Jon Vaughan
21 Tom Ham
22 Josh Thomas
23 Andrew Claypole
15 Julian Mogg
14 Duane Dyer (rep: Jack Bunyan 65)
13 Jordan Howells
12 Darren Humphries (rep: Barney Nightingale 75)
11 Ashley Norton
10 Calum Jones
9 Matt Bancroft (rep: James Leadbeater 48)
1 Rhys Morgan © (rep: Ashley Gibson 60)
2 Rhys Buckley
3 Alex Gardner-Key (rep: Keagan Bale 76)
4 Geraint Edmunds
5 Bryce Morgan
6 Louis Blacker (rep: Mike Kavanagh 76)
7 Grant Rogers
8 Ben Fry (rep: Gavin McDonnell 54)
16 James Leadbeater
17 Jack Bunyan
18 Barney Nightingale
19 Wade Langley
20 Gavin McDonnell
21 Ashley Gibson
22 Keagan Bale
23 Mike Kavanagh