2017/2018 Principality Premiership
Swansea 24 v 17 Neath
28 October 2017 - St Helen's, Swansea

Match Report

Swansea 24 Neath 17

Above: Adam Thresher crashes over for the bonus point try (Dragon Tales Photography). 


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  • Second win of the campaign for All Whites
  • Adam Thresher try secures well earned bonus point for St Helen's men
  • Victory takes Swansea off bottom of the division


By: Paul Hopkins


Swansea clinched their second win of the campaign, scoring four tries in the process to send neighbours Neath to the bottom of Premiership West.


The home side showed their intent early on when centre Jedd Evans made a crunching tackle on full back Ed Howley, who was attempting to run out of defence. Former All White lock Jon Barley was then spoken to by referee Simon Rees for dangerous play at the lineout.


Lock Matt Dodd collected the resulting lineout and the visitors were penalised for pulling down a maul with number eight Leon Ward given a warning by Rees.


Another lineout take by Dodd saw the home pack inch towards the line, before a grubber kick by fly half Phil Jones fell into the grateful hands of chasing winger Andrew Claypole, who scored. Fellow wing Owen Howe converted.


The Whites endured a torrid time all afternoon at the scrum and a collapse at the set piece gave the visitors a penalty. Howley kicked deep into the corner, but Swansea managed to secure a turnover and clear.


The reprieve didn’t last long though when Howley and winger James Roberts ran back at them, up to within a couple of metres of the line. Neath were unable to ground the ball and handed over possession at the maul.


Ward picked up the ball at the base of a powerful Neath scrum, but he was tackled a metre short of the line. Flanker Charlie Davies was also stopped just shy of the whitewash, and from the resulting scrum the visitors were awarded a penalty try.


Foul language by a Neath player gifted Swansea an unexpected penalty opportunity, but Howe failed to make the All Blacks pay as he missed his effort at goal.


Full back Gareth Walters fielded a loose kick in midfield and got the ball out to Howe, who was tackled inside the twenty-two. Lock Adam Thresher then charged towards the line and the supporting hooker Paul John was held up a metre short. The All Blacks’ defence was penalised for offside and Howe chipped to touch.


From the routine lineout, flanker Jay Williams was driven over for a try. Howe missed the conversion.


A dangerous tackle by Dodd gave Neath a penalty on the stroke of half time. Fly half Gavin Evans kicked to the corner, but the Whites’ stole lineout ball and cleared through a Josh Guy box kick.


Half-time:-   Swansea   12   Neath   7


Swansea were back on the attack immediately after the restart with number eight Morgan Morris close to scoring in the corner. The Whites then used their backline to great effect with Claypole drawing in a tackler to send Evans over for a try. Howe converted.


The visitors were awarded a penalty after the Swansea defence killed the ball, although replacement full back Geraint Llewellyn missed his effort at goal.


The St Helen’s side gave away another penalty for handling the ball in a ruck. Llewellyn kicked to touch and Barley took an unorthodox lineout, only for Evans to pick up a loose ball and race up to the opposing twenty-two to begin a Swansea attack.


Llewellyn initially dealt with the danger, but his clearance kick was charged down. The Whites were then awarded a penalty following a high tackle, but Howe kicked to touch and his pack lost the ball forward.


A second lineout, this time close to the try line, was taken by Thresher, who charged over the whitewash to secure a bonus point for his side. Howe missed the conversion.


A superb crossfield kick by replacement fly half Iwan Evans almost resulted in a try for winger Alec Jenkins, but he lost the ball over the line.


The All Blacks began to gain a foothold in the match and opted for a scrum near the Whites’ try line instead of attempting a three pointer. It proved the right decision as the visitors’ powered forward at the scrum and got the ball out wide for Jenkins to score. Llewellyn missed the conversion.


A superb break through the middle by Roberts set up a dangerous attack for Neath, but his pass out to Jenkins sailed into touch as a try looked almost certain.


It was attack after attack by the visitors and when replacement prop Liam Tobias charged through, the Whites’ defence killed the ball. Iwan Evans kicked to touch and a short lineout saw the Neath forwards power towards the line, but they were unable to regain possession from the maul and gave away a penalty.


A poor lineout throw by substitute hooker Tom Ball gifted Neath a turnover and a superb link up between replacement scrum half Chris Morgans and centre Matthew Pearce created space out wide for Jenkins to score in the corner. Iwan Evans missed the conversion to effectively end the visitors’ chances of an outright victory.


The Whites should have wrapped things up in the last minute of normal time when foul play off the ball by former Swansea prop Ryan Thomas gave Howe a penalty chance, but he missed.


There was still time for the visitors to snatch a draw and their breakthrough almost came from a Swansea mistake. Dodd and Guy set up an attack, but Llewellyn came inches away from intercepting a pass on the twenty-two. Luckily for the St Helen’s men, he couldn’t hold onto the ball.


Ball looked to have wrapped things up for the Whites, but his try under the posts was ruled out for offside. Instead Iwan Evans kicked to touch and lock Ryan Bean collected the lineout, only for replacement flanker Elis Hopkins to hold on after the tackle, ending his side’s hopes.


Next up for Swansea is a trip to mid table Aberavon, while Neath travel to Carmarthen.


Full-time:-   Swansea   24   Neath   17


Swansea scorers:


Tries:-   Andrew Claypole (10), Jay Williams (33), Jedd Evans (43), Adam Thresher (57)

Cons:-   Owen Howe (11, 44)


Neath scorers:


Tries:-   Penalty try (21), Alec Jenkins (67, 77)


Match facts:


Venue:-   St Helen’s, Swansea

Referee:-   Simon Rees

Weather:-   Light cloud, 13C

Man of the match:-   Matt Dodd

Attendance:-   400


Swansea team:


15 Gareth Walters

14 Andrew Claypole

13 Jedd Evans (rep: James Davies 80+1)

12 J Rhys Williams ©

11 Owen Howe

10 Phil Jones

9 Josh Guy

1 Jack Powell (rep: Lewys Bullock 68)

2 Paul John (rep: Tom Ball 68)

3 Fenton Holder (rep: Chris Thomas 54)

4 Adam Thresher (rep: Jon Vaughan 70)

5 Matt Dodd

6 Jay Williams

7 Emyr Williams (rep: Jon Fox 57)

8 Morgan Morris




16 Tom Ball

17 Lewys Bullock

18 Chris Thomas

19 Jon Fox

20 Jon Vaughan

21 Rhodri Wells

22 James Davies

23 Liam Smith


Neath team:


15 Ed Howley (rep: Geraint Llewellyn 27)

14 James Roberts

13 Mike Evans

12 Matthew Pearce

11 Alec Jenkins

10 Gavin Evans © (rep: Iwan Evans 58)

9 Scott Gibson (rep: Chris Morgans 49)

1 Ben Uphill (rep: Liam Tobias 52)

2 Sion Crocker (rep: Dewi Lake 80+1)

3 Geraint James (rep: Ryan Thomas 49)

4 Ryan Bean

5 Jon Barley

6 Josh Cole (rep: Elis Hopkins 16)

7 Charlie Davies (rep: Matthew Davies 40+2)

8 Leon Ward




16 Liam Tobias

17 Dewi Lake

18 Ryan Thomas

19 Matthew Davies

20 Elis Hopkins

21 Chris Morgans

22 Iwan Evans

23 Geraint Llewellyn



Attendance: 400

Official : Simon Rees (Wales)

Swansea Neath