By: Paul Hopkins
Swansea gained revenge for their opening day defeat to Llanelli with a resounding win at St Helen’s in the Welsh Cup pool stage.
In the opening moments lock Christian Long took a lineout on half way, but an overzealous Swansea defence was penalised for offside.
The visitors failed to make the most of the chance and the pace of full back Iestyn Hopkins caused panic in the Llanelli defence. Fly half Dan Edwards kicked to the corner and lock Lewis Jones was driven up to the whitewash from the lineout before scrum half Gareth J Rees touched down for a debut try. Centre James Davies converted.
Scrum half Luke Davies took a quick tap penalty and fed centre Eddie James, but deliberate offside by flanker Harri Deaves gifted the visitors a penalty, which fly half Josh Phillips converted.
An outstanding run by winger Jac Davies caught the Whites’ defence asleep, but a forward pass by Luke Davies brought an end to the promising move. The home side were offside in midfield though and Phillips kicked the resulting penalty goal from the half way line.
The home pack pushed their counterparts off a scrum and Edwards kicked to the corner with the penalty. Lewis Jones rose high to take the lineout and fed hooker Garan Williams for a second Whites try. James Davies’ conversion attempt sailed wide of the posts.
Flanker Trystan Davies made a half break into Llanelli territory and James Davies made further yards, before Jac Davies picked up a loose ball on the ground. Number eight Ben Williams burst through the middle and was stopped a metre short of the line, with Deaves yellow carded for cynically preventing release of the ball.
With the man advantage up front, the visitors opted for a scrum and it almost proved the right decision as Williams powered to the line, but he was penalised for failing to release on the ground.
The visitors’ backs put together some exciting phases of rugby and it took a James Davies high tackle to stop them. Phillips found touch with the penalty inside the Swansea 22 and Long took the lineout, but a mistake gave winger Harri Houston the chance to stretch his lines, though he was crucially tackled into touch.
Williams raced 20 metres upfield from a breakdown and the visitors were penalised for illegally slowing play. Edwards found touch on the 22, but his side were unable to get the ball out of a maul.
Swansea’s third try came from an injection of pace with prop Cameron Jones charging over the 22, before he handed a well timed pass for the supporting lock Lewis Marsh to score. James Davies converted.
Llanelli almost hit back immediately when Luke Davies strolled through a couple of poor tackles, but the supporting winger Harrison Button was bundled into touch a metre short of the line.
Half-time:- Swansea 19-6 Llanelli
After the interval Long made a break as Llanelli looked to run from deep and centre Jack Price dummied his way up to within a few metres of the line, but an outstanding Swansea defence forced a knock on.
A poor box kick by replacement scrum half Connor Tantum sailed out on the full to gift Llanelli an attacking set piece. Flanker Ryan Jenkins charged forward and Price almost scored in the corner, but Deaves and winger Matthew Jenkins combined superbly to hold him up over the line.
The All Whites were penalised for offside at the ruck, but Phillips dragged his effort at goal well wide of the posts.
Williams then ripped the ball out of a tackle and raced up to the 22, but the Whites managed to track back to defend.
Llanelli were back in the game thanks to a moment of magic by Phillips, whose deft chip and chase over the top caused panic in the Swansea defence. The visitors were awarded a penalty try following a professional foul by Edwards, who was promptly yellow carded.
Swansea’s pack came to the rescue by driving the visitors off the ball, earning a penalty at the same time. James Davies kicked to the corner and a well controlled lineout saw Deaves crash over for a try. Replacement winger Cai Evans converted.
The home side laid siege to the Llanelli line and after a few phases of play, the backs got quick ball out wide through the hands of Houston for Evans to score. He also converted.
And Swansea’s impressive victory was sealed in the dying seconds when replacement prop Tom Sloane crashed over for a try. Evans converted.
Full-time:- Swansea 40-13 Llanelli
Tries:- Gareth J Rees (5), Garan Williams (15), Lewis Marsh (37), Harry Deaves (68), Cai Evans (72), Tom Sloane (80+4)
Cons:- James Davies (6, 38), Cai Evans (69, 73, 80+5)
Yellow cards:- Harri Deaves (19), Dan Edwards (61)
Tries:- Penalty try (61)
Pens:- Josh Phillips (9, 10)
Venue:- St Helen’s, Swansea
Weather:- Sunny, 16C
Man of the match:- Iestyn Hopkins
15 Iestyn Hopkins
14 Matthew Jenkins (rep: Cai Evans 52)
13 Hanno Dirksen (rep: Gareth O Rees 61)
12 James Davies ©
11 Harri Houston
10 Dan Edwards
9 Gareth J Rees (rep: Connor Tantum 45)
1 Cameron Jones (rep: Tom Sloane 61)
2 Garan Williams (rep: Owen Thomas 45)
3 Ellis Fackrell (rep: Scott Jenkins 52)
4 Lewis Marsh
5 Lewis Jones (rep: Matt Dodd 61)
6 Trystan Davies
7 Harri Deaves
8 Cai Davies (rep: Jon Fox 55)
16 Owen Thomas
17 Scott Jenkins
18 Tom Sloane
19 Matt Dodd
20 Jon Fox
21 Connor Tantum
22 Cai Evans
23 Gareth O Rees
15 Llew Smith (rep: Tal Rees 69)
14 Jac Davies
13 Jack Price
12 Eddie James (rep: Iestyn Gwilliam 61)
11 Harrison Button
10 Josh Phillips
9 Luke Davies (rep: Archie Hughes 57)
1 Cori Phillips (rep: Rhys Cherry 61)
2 Llew Phillips-Taylor (rep: George Rossiter 69)
3 Tom Zoogah (rep: Ioan Lewis 41)
4 Joe Greaves
5 Christian Long
6 Ryan Jenkins
7 Luca Giannini (rep: Jacob Lloyd Lewis 64)
8 Ben Williams
16 George Rossiter
17 Rhys Cherry
18 Ioan Lewis
19 Caleb Salmon
20 Jacob Lloyd Lewis
21 Archie Hughes
22 Tal Rees
23 Iestyn Gwilliam