2017/2018 Principality Premiership
Swansea 28 v 41 Aberavon
02 September 2017 - St Helen's, Swansea

Match Report

Swansea 28 Aberavon 41

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  • Former All White Garland stars in St Helen's thriller
  • Whites deploy new direct style
  • Plenty of encouraging signs for Richard Lancaster's men


By: Paul Hopkins


A courageous All Whites side put up a huge fight against Aberavon but ultimately too many mistakes cost them the chance of an unlikely victory.


There were certainly promising signs for Richard Lancaster’s men as they controlled the game for long periods and introduced a new direct style of play.


It looked good for the home side inside the first few minutes when they won a scrum against the head. Centre Callum Carson weaved over the twenty-two, finding lock Tudor Hughes in support, but number eight Luke Joseph secured a vital turnover for the Wizards.


Flanker Craig Price used his power to charge over half way and centre Joe Thomas was brought down with a high tackle. Fly half James Garland chipped ahead into the twenty-two, but the move lost momentum and Price was penalised for holding on after the tackle.


A quick lineout taken by the Whites’ backs caught their counterparts asleep, forcing them to enter a ruck from the side to slow play down. Full back Owen Howe kicked the resulting penalty.


Five minutes later Howe doubled his side’s lead with another penalty goal when impressive flanker Morgan Morris charged through, forcing the Aberavon defence offside in midfield.


A superb crossfield kick by Garland was picked up by winger Shaun Pearce, but he failed to spot Joe Thomas on his inside and an ankle tap brought an end to the move.


The visitors grabbed their first try on 27 minutes when hooker Luke Davies secured a turnover and sent Joe Thomas sprinting up the twenty-two. The Wizards recycled ball quickly out to the backs with full back John Phillips touching down in the corner. Garland missed the conversion.


The Wizards took the lead against the run of play when Garland intercepted a pass inside his own half to race clear and score under the posts. He also converted.


A dangerous swinging arm by flanker Lee Purnell earned him a yellow card and Howe opted to kick to the corner. A rolling maul ensued and when they did get the ball out wide, winger Andrew Claypole was held up just five metres short. However, the visitors turned over possession to clear.


Morris collected good lineout ball and the home pack set up a seemingly unstoppable maul, but their Aberavon counterparts managed to legally bring it down.


The All Whites were penalised for bringing down an attacking lineout and Garland chipped deep into the twenty-two. From the resulting set piece hooker Luke Davies was driven over for a try. Garland converted.


Purnell, already on a yellow card, was spoken to by referee Matthew Thomas for what appeared to be a tip tackle, although he took no further action. Instead, Howe penalised the visitors with a penalty goal on the stroke of half time.


Half-time:-   Swansea   9   Aberavon   19


Swansea began the second half on the attack as Carson used his strength to make yards upfield. Scrum half Rhodri Wells attempted to kick his side downfield, but was charged down by Garland. The number ten found Joe Thomas in support, who threw a long pass out wide for Pearce to score. Garland converted.


Flanker Craig Price then became the second Wizard to be sent to the sin-bin, this time for killing the ball after Claypole and flanker Jon Vaughan had sent Howe on a run up to a metre of the line. Sensing they needed to score, the Whites opted for a scrum and the decision paid off when Howe touched down. He hacked his conversion attempt well wide of the post.


Morris spotted a gap in the Aberavon defence and managed to offload, but the final pass out wide was intercepted. From the lineout replacement hooker Tom Ball was driven over for a try. Howe converted.


Garland restored his side’s two score advantage with a snap drop goal on the back foot.


Swansea fly half James Davies made a superb break through the middle, drawing in the Aberavon defence to send centre Rhys Williams over for a try under the posts. Howe converted to reduce the gap to a single point.


The home side were penalised for driving through a ruck offside and Garland kicked for territory. The pack formed a rolling maul from the lineout and lock Jay Williams was yellow carded for killing the ball. Garland again went for the corner and this time replacement hooker Ben Jones crashed over for a try. Garland missed the conversion.


Aberavon sealed victory when number eight Jon Fox had the ball snatched out of his hands by Garland who raced clear to score a try which he also converted.


The Whites looked set to claim a losing bonus point with a superb last gasp move, but they spilled the ball forward a metre short of the line.


Next up for Swansea is a home match against Bridgend, while Aberavon host Carmarthen.


Full-time:-   Swansea   28   Aberavon   41


Swansea scorers:


Tries:-   Owen Howe (54), Tom Ball (61), Rhys J Williams (75)

Cons:-   Owen Howe (62, 76)

Pens:-   Owen Howe (13, 18, 40+8)


Yellow cards:-   Jay Williams (79)


Aberavon scorers:


Tries:-   John Phillips (28), James Garland (30, 80+2), Luke Davies (40+3), Shaun Pearce (51), Ben Jones (79)

Cons:-   James Garland (31, 40+4, 52, 80+3)

DGs:-   James Garland (65)


Yellow cards:-   Lee Purnell (33), Craig Price (55)


Match facts:


Venue:-   St Helen’s, Swansea

Referee:-   Matthew Thomas

Weather:-   Sunny, 17C

Man of the match:-   James Garland

Attendance:-   500


Swansea team:


15 Owen Howe

14 Andrew Claypole

13 Callum Carson

12 Rhys Williams

11 Dom Callaghan (rep: Jedd Evans 80+6)

10 James Davies

9 Rhodri Wells (rep: Josh Guy 55)

1 Tom Sloane (rep: Jack Powell 77)

2 Paul John (rep: Tom Ball 55)

3 Richard Murphy (rep: Chris Thomas 55)

4 Jay Williams

5 Tudor Hughes (rep: Adam Thresher 28)

6 Jon Vaughan (rep: Emyr Williams 55)

7 Morgan Morris

8 Jon Fox ©




16 Tom Ball

17 Jack Powell

18 Chris Thomas

19 Adam Thresher

20 Emyr Williams

21 Josh Guy

22 Gareth Walters

23 Jedd Evans


Aberavon team:


15 John Phillips (rep: Liam Popham 47)

14 Shaun Pearce

13 Joe Thomas

12 Rheon James (rep: Will Price 59)

11 David Evans (rep: Stef Williams 68)

10 James Garland ©

9 Jacob Flynn

1 Rowan Jenkins (rep: Jordan Williams 76)

2 Luke Davies (rep: Ieuan Davies 59)

3 Rhys Henry (rep: John Thomas 71)

4 James Ratti

5 Sam Williams (rep: Ben Jones 5)

6 Lee Purnell (rep: Ben Thomas 43)

7 Craig Price

8 Luke Joseph




16 Liam Popham

17 Stef Williams

18 Will Price

19 Ieuan Davies

20 Ben Jones

21 Jordan Walters

22 John Thomas

23 Ben Thomas



Attendance: 500

Official : Ben Breakspear (Wales)

Swansea Aberavon