Swansea 22-30 Pontypridd

By: Paul Hopkins

Pontypridd secured a bonus point victory over Swansea in an exciting affair of open rugby at St Helen’s that could have gone either way until the final few minutes.

In the opening exchanges. full back Josh Phillips fielded a high kick despite a double bounce in midfield to start an attack, but winger Niko Matawalu’s chip went straight into touch.

It was Swansea who mounted the first dangerous attack when quick ball through the backline saw flanker Callum Bowden sprint towards the line, but he was tackled and couldn’t release the ball out to the supporting winger Morgan Rees.

The All Whites superbly worked a pass out wide to Morgan Rees through the hands of centre Joe Thomas, but play was brought back for a penalty after the Pontypridd backs strayed offside. Fly half Rhys Jones kicked the three pointer.

The home side scored their first try in exciting fashion with scrum half Gareth J Rees taking a quick tap penalty, feeding centre Joe Thomas, who used his pace and power to race up to within a few metres of the line. Swansea managed to keep possession tight within the forwards with prop Cameron B Jones profiting as he crashed over for a try. Rhys Jones missed the conversion.

Pontypridd were awarded a penalty at the scrum after the home front row collapsed and fly half Ben Burnell found touch mid way between halfway and the Swansea 22, although lock Matt Dodd rose superbly to steal the lineout.

Rhys Jones collected a high kick inside the Pontypridd half and a maul formed, but Cameron B Jones was penalised and yellow carded for a dangerous challenge.

Flanker Cai James took a lineout and Pontypridd got quick ball out wide through Burnell and centre Garyn Smith, with Matawalu stopped on the 22.

Hooker Rob Jones then took a crash ball as the visitors continued to attack, and an outstanding long pass by Burnell found winger Tom Edwards, but the home side managed to defend through an excellent tackle by full back Harri Houston.

Play was brought back for an earlier penalty though and the visitors opted for a close range scrum. The decision paid off when the ball was sent out wide for Matawalu to score. Phillips missed the conversion.

Things got even better for the visitors when Matawalu raced down the wing and found flanker Cally James in support, before lock Kristian Parker and Phillips popped up in support to send centre Kyan Lewis over for a breathtaking try. Phillips missed the conversion.

An outstanding tackle by Thomas on Lewis stopped a dangerous Pontypridd attack from deep, but as the visitors looking to run riot, Edwards was penalised for holding on after the tackle to give the home side a much needed reprieve.

Rhys Jones chipped the penalty up to the Pontypridd 22 and a powerful home maul made its way up to the line, but an unfortunate handling error cost a certain try.

A superb run by number eight Cai Davies got the home side back on the front foot, but Phillips comfortably dealt with a Thomas chip through meant for winger Brandon Wood.

Wood tried to repay the favour with a grubber kick of his own, which Thomas chased down and this time the visitors weren’t able to deal with the danger and knocked on a metre shy of their own line.

Instead, the home side were awarded a penalty underneath the posts, and with Pontypridd lining up for the inevitable penalty goal, Cameron B Jones caught them by surprise by taking a quick tap to score his second try. Rhys Jones converted.

Matawalu made another break on the wing and chipped ahead, with first Bowden and then Phillips, making a mess of picking up the ball, gifting Pontypridd an attacking scrum five. The visitors got quick ball out wide from the advancing set piece with Matawalu squeezing over for a try. Phillips missed the conversion.

Bowden superbly claimed the restart out of Pontypridd’s hands, but Matawalu regained possession with Phillips kicking out to signal half time.

Half-time:-   Swansea 15-15 Pontypridd

Smith broke through a tackle from the restart and made 20 metres upfield with Jones providing support, but the visitors kicked possession away. Then Matawalu made a break on the wing, beating replacement winger Marcus Brown for pace, but his chip through was gathered by the Whites who were able to clear through Gareth J Rees.

The visitors were awarded a penalty, which Burnell chipped into the corner. Lock Macauley Cook took the lineout and the Pontypridd pack rumbled forward, but prop Tom Harper spilled the ball forward.

Replacement lock Sam Pailor took a lineout and tapped down to Cai Davies who made a half break up to the 22, with centre Sam Matthews dragged down on the wing, although flanker Tristan Davies was held up in a maul.

Pontypridd spread play out to the right wing with Edwards racing inside the 22, before the ball was fed out to Lewis, who made a few yards but became isolated and held on after the tackle.

Smith then cut through the Swansea defence like a knife through butter and got his side up to the 22. Jones charged forward and the visitors worked the ball out wide for Cook to score. Phillips converted.

Brown superbly tapped back the restart unto the hands of Matthews as the home side looked to hit back immediately. Hooker Jamie Cox picked up the ball and side stepped his way towards the line, but was stopped just short, before Bowden charged over for a try. Rhys Jones converted.

A half break by Brown gave the Whites another attacking chance with Thomas racing through, but the centre failed to find support and lost the ball forward.

Rhys Jones found touch on the Pontypridd 22 with a penalty, which Tristan Davies tapped back to set up an attacking platform. The visitors gave away another penalty, which Rhys Jones kicked wide of the posts.

Instead, Pontypridd managed to work their way down the other end of the pitch, earning a penalty chance of their own after the home side strayed offside. Phillips kicked his side ahead with the three pointer.

The visitors mauled forward inside the 22 with Burnell almost breaking clear of a tackle, but his pass out to replacement flanker Sion Parry sailed into touch.

A Rhys Jones kick was charged down by Parry and the visitors got the ball out to replacement cventre Louis R-Shugar who chipped through, but the home side dealt with the dangerous, albeit giving away a penalty in the process, which Phillips chipped to the corner.

From the lineout, the Pontypridd pack formed a rolling maul as a desperate Whites defence tried to hold on, but numbers out wide told as Edwards walked in for a match winning try. Burnell missed the conversion.

The Whites refused to give up and almost claimed a late bonus point try when Thomas made a break through the middle, but the supporting replacement centre Jacob Symes wasn’t able to take the pass.

Next up for Swansea is a trip to Cardiff, while Pontypridd host Merthyr.

Full-time:-   Swansea 22-30 Pontypridd



Tries:-   Cameron B Jones (13, 38), Callum Bowden (64)

Cons:-   Rhys Jones (39, 65)

Pens:-   Rhys Jones (10)

Yellow cards:-   Cameron B Jones (19)



Tries:-   Niko Matawalu (25, 40+2), Tom Edwards (27, 80+2), Macauley Cook (61)

Cons:-   Josh Phillips (62)

Pens:-   Josh Phillips (75)


Match facts:

Venue:-   St Helen’s, Swansea

Weather:-   Light rain showers, 11C

Referee:-   Elliot Mayor

Man of the match:-   Niko Matawalu

Attendance:-   500


Swansea team:

15 Harri Houston

14 Morgan Rees (rep: Marcus Brown 41)

13 Joe Thomas

12 Sam Matthews (rep: Jacob Symes 73)

11 Brandon Wood (rep: Daf Davies 22-30)

10 Rhys Jones

9 Gareth J Rees (rep: Aron Hemmings 56)

1 Cameron B Jones (rep: Daf Davies 56)

2 Jamie Cox (rep: Llew Phillips-Taylor 73)

3 Tom Crockett (rep: Ed Thompson 44)

4 Lloyd Ashley

5 Matt Dodd (rep: Sam Pailor 41)

6 Tristan Davies (rep: Joe Greaves 76)

7 Callum Bowden ©

8 Cai Davies


16 Llew Phillips-Taylor

17 Daf Davies

18 Ed Thompson

19 Sam Pailor

20 Joe Greaves

21 Aron Hemmings

22 Jacob Symes

23 Marcus Brown


Pontypridd team:

15 Josh Phillips

14 Niko Matawalu

13 Garyn Smith

12 Kyan Lewis (rep: Louis R-Shugar 73)

11 Tom Edwards

10 Ben Burnell

9 Harvey Nash (rep: Joel Raikes 77)

1 Ben Stephens (rep: Kian Mattravers 78)

2 Rob Jones (rep: Curtis Greenslade 39-41, 70)

3 Tom Harper (rep: Morgan Bosanko 78)

4 Kristian Parker © (rep: Mitch Barnard 76)

5 Macauley Cook

6 Cai James

7 Cally James

8 Joe Miles


16 Curtis Greenslade

17 Kian Mattravers

18 Morgan Bosanko

19 Mitch Barnard

20 Aled Ward

21 Joel Raikes

22 Sion Parry

23 Louis R-Shugar