By: Paul Hopkins
The All Whites soared to their first win of the season with a resounding bonus point success over local rivals Llanelli.
The home side began with a bang when a clever dummy by Hanno Dirksen confused the Llanelli defence, with the centre firing out a pass for winger Josh Carrington to score in the corner. Fly half Liam Popham converted.
With the All Whites looking to attack again, centre Jonny Lewis intercepted a pass in midfield. Hooker Morgan MacRae found himself in space on the wing but was tackled into touch a couple of metres short of the line.
An error in the visitors’ defence gifted Swansea an attacking scrum just side the twenty-two. Dirksen set up the attack and centre Callum Carson found touch with a grubber kick a metre short of the line. Full back Harri Houston then weaved through a couple of tackles, forcing the Llanelli defence off their feet at the ruck. Popham kicked the penalty goal.
Flanker Jay Williams was penalised for diving over the top of a ruck and fly half Ioan Hughes kicked to the corner. Lock Ashleigh Hyndman took the lineout, but the supporting MacRae was held up over the line. From the resulting drop out Llanelli worked the ball out wide for Lewis to score. Ioan Hughes converted.
Flanker Huw Sutton collected a poor Luke Davies box kick to set the home side on another attack. Panic stations set in with the Llanelli defence with full back Eray Wilson forced into a hurried clearance following a charge down.
A powerful scrum by the home pack earned a penalty close to the Llanelli line with Williams opting for a second scrum. Number eight Will Hickey got the ball quickly out of the set piece with Sutton stretching over to score a second Whites try. Popham converted.
Wilson made a break through the middle but a Swansea hand managed to dislodge the ball into touch on the twenty-two. Prop Sam O’Connor showed a turn of pace to reach within a metre of the line, before the All Whites’ defence killed the ball. Ioan Hughes kicked the three pointer.
From the restart Ioan Hughes rose high to defuse a Houston Garryowen and the fly half found touch deep inside the Swansea half. Williams tapped down the lineout straight into the hands of MacRae and the home side promptly gave away another penalty. This time Ioan Hughes turned down the kickable penalty and chipped into the corner. Flanker Ellis Thomas looked to have scored under the posts, but play was brought back for a double movement.
Lock Matt Dodd made a break inside the twenty-two, finding Williams in support. The flanker injected pace into the attack and fed Popham for a well taken try under the posts, which he also converted.
Hickey raced down the blindside of a scrum with his opposite number Ryan Jenkins seemingly tapping down a pass, but play was brought back for an earlier infringement at the scrum, handing the visitors a penalty. A strange lineout throw by MacRae was easily dealt with by Dodd though and the Whites were able to clear.
On the stroke of half time a Llanelli attack broke down inside their own half with the All Whites awarded a penalty. Popham stretched his side’s lead to 17 points at the interval.
Half-time:- Swansea 27-10 Llanelli
The Swansea pack set the tone in the second half with a powerful penalty-winning drive. Popham found touch on the twenty-two and a maul set up a platform for Dodd to squeeze over for his side’s bonus point try. Popham converted.
In a rare occurrence the Whites’ pack gave away a penalty at the scrum for driving in sidewards. Ioan Hughes kicked for territory, but a mistake brought an end to the move.
Dirksen and Carson combined well in midfield with the supporting hooker Owen Thomas making good yards upfield. The visitors secured a turnover but were unable to make the most of the opportunity.
Houston was tackled late after he kicked the ball downfield and Popham chipped to the corner. A patient build up by the Swansea forwards saw the ball spread out to replacement winger Osain Knott, who dived over for a try. Popham converted.
Thomas sprinted 15 metres over half way and the ball was fed out to Houston, but play was brought back for a forward pass.
Carrington bagged his second try of the afternoon when Houston fired out a long pass for the winger to back his pace to score. Popham missed the conversion.
Replacement lock Leon McNally stole a lineout on the Llanelli twenty-two and a clever short pass by substitute scrum half Ben Ley sent Knott over for his second try. Popham converted.
The visitors refused to give up and Ioan Hughes found touch a few metres from the line with a penalty. A maul from the lineout saw replacement hooker Rhys Cherry power over for a consolation try. Ioan Hughes missed his drop kick conversion attempt.
Full-time:- Swansea 53-15 Llanelli
Tries:- Josh Carrington (2, 67), Huw Sutton (20), Liam Popham (39), Matt Dodd (45), Osain Knott (59, 78)
Cons:- Liam Popham (3, 21, 40, 46, 60, 79)
Pens:- Liam Popham (9, 40+6)
Tries:- Jonny Lewis (14), Rhys Cherry (80+1)
Cons:- Ioan Hughes (15)
Pens:- Ioan Hughes (28)
Venue:- St Helen’s, Swansea
Weather:- Cloudy, 16C
Referee:- Gwyn Morris
Man of the match:- Liam Popham
15 Harri Houston
14 Josh Carrington
13 Hanno Dirksen (rep: James Davies 60)
12 Callum Carson
11 Gareth Rees (rep: Osain Knott 47)
10 Liam Popham
9 Connor Tantum (rep: Ben Ley 65)
1 Tom Sloane (rep: Cameron Jones 52)
2 Owen Thomas (rep: Aneurin James 68)
3 Richard Murphy (rep: Rhys Henry 47)
4 Matt Dodd (rep: Leon McNally 70)
5 James Fender
6 Huw Sutton
7 Jay Williams ©
8 Will Hickey
16 Aneurin James
17 Cameron Jones
18 Rhys Henry
19 Owen Morgan
20 Leon McNally
21 Ben Ley
22 James Davies
23 Osain Knott
15 Eray Wilson
14 Amir Jiwa Walji (rep: Ioan Evans 65)
13 Ryan Davies
12 Jonny Lewis (rep: Josh Phillips 65)
11 Harrison Button
10 Ioan Hughes ©
9 Luke Davies (rep: Archie Hughes 52)
1 Sam O’Connor (rep: Dylan Lawley 61)
2 Morgan MacRae (rep: Rhys Cherry 61)
3 Alex Jeffries (rep: Lewis Davies 61)
4 Ashleigh Hyndman
5 Ed Couzens (rep: Elis Hopkins 52)
6 Ellis Thomas
7 Nathan Hart (rep: Caine Rees-Jones 58)
8 Ryan Jenkins
16 Rhys Cherry
17 Dylan Lawley
18 Lewis Davies
19 Elis Hopkins
20 Caine Rees Jones
21 Archie Hughes
22 Josh Phillips
23 Ioan Evans