- Whites comeback not enough as RGC win by one point
- Four Swansea tries from rolling mauls
- Double bonus point for Whites
By: Paul Hopkins
An outstanding second half display by the All Whites wasn’t quite enough as Richard Lancaster’s men fell to a single point defeat in North Wales.
The Swansea front right looked well on top throughout the game, buoyed by the powerful prop Fenton Holder, who caused the RGC pack no end of problems.
But, it was a clinical performance by the North Walian backs during the first period that proved the difference as the Whites left too much to do after the interval.
It was the best possible start for the visitors when fly half James Davies found touch deep inside the RGC twenty-two, despite a strong wind. Lock Matt Dodd caught the lineout and flanker Aled Cockwell was driven over for a try. Davies converted.
The home scrum began to motor and scrum half Alex Schwarz fired out a pass to centre Tom Hughes, who took the ball at pace, bursting through to score. Fly half Jacob Botica converted.
The second RGC try came from a moment of brilliance by full back Dion Jones, who took a pass out wide and shrugged off a tackle to beat the defending Rhodri Wells to score in the corner. Botica converted.
Winger Aron Evans made a break on the wing and the supporting prop Sam Wainwright powered forward, forcing the Whites’ defence offside in midfield. Botica kicked the three points.
RGC made a mistake from the restart when winger Afon Bagshaw became isolated and held on after the tackle. Davies kicked to the corner, but Cockwell lost the ball forward as his side looked to exploit an overlap out wide.
Referee Elfyn Roberts brought play back for a penalty and Davies again chipped to the corner. Centre Callum Carson almost broke through, but Wells threw a pass forward under pressure to end the move.
Davies kicked his side back to within seven points with a penalty goal after the RGC defence illegally killed a Swansea attack.
The home side grabbed try number three when Jones picked up a grubber kick and sent an inside pass to Hughes, who raced clear to score under the posts. Botica converted.
The RGC pack set up a powerful maul, which worked up to the twenty-two. Schwarz then danced his way up to the line and the supporting number eight Alex Taylor was stopped a metre short. Jones dropped a pass out wide, but Roberts brought play back for a penalty after the Whites’ defence stepped offside. Botica kicked the three pointer.
RGC gave away a needless penalty for pulling back a Swansea player. It proved to be crucial as Davies kicked to the corner and hooker Ashleigh James was driven over for a try. Davies converted.
On the stroke of half time lock Robin Williams charged upfield and the Whites crept offside in midfield. Botica kicked to the corner and from the lineout Aron Evans powered forward, with the Whites giving away another penalty. Taylor was tackled on the line, but the home side managed to recycle quick ball out wide for Bagshaw to score. Botica missed the conversion.
Half-time:- RGC 1404 32 Swansea 17
The Whites changed their tactics after the interval, opting to play a more forward-orientated game. It paid off almost immediately when prop Tom Sloane was mauled over the whitewash from a close range lineout. Davies missed the conversion.
The home side went on the attack from the restart and earned a penalty, which Botica duly converted.
Hughes superbly ran out of defence after a poor kick by replacement winger Owen Howe failed to find touch, but Robin Williams held on after the tackle. Davies kicked to touch and Dodd collected the lineout, but the Whites’ pack were penalised for an infringement at the maul.
The visitors got themselves right back into the match from yet another close range lineout. It was Dodd again who collected the ball and number eight Jon Fox who crashed over for a try. Davies converted.
Replacement hooker Evan Yardley made a break up to the twenty-two and lock Sam Kiley was unlucky to be penalised for offside following a series of rickashays. Botica kicked to the corner, but lock Henri Williams became isolated and held on after the tackle.
Swansea were soon back on the attack and the impressive Dodd took another lineout, sending Holder charging deep inside the RGC twenty-two. Davies dummied, but held on too long after the tackle to give the home side a reprieve.
Hughes burst through the middle and send replacement prop Joe Simpson charging upfield. Henri Williams and substitute flanker Callum Donnely provided good support, but Mei Parry held on after the tackle.
When Hughes was penalised for preventing quick release, Davies kicked to the corner. Dodd collected the lineout and the pack drove towards the line, but an inside pass was spilled forward.
The Whites’ pack pushed their counterparts off their own scrum, earning a penalty. Davies kicked for touch and Kiley took the lineout. The forwards remained patient and finally got the ball out wide for replacement winger Tom Ham to score. Davies missed the crucial conversion to leave the home side ahead by a single point.
Replacement flanker Tom Ball came inches away from scoring from a grubber kick, but the Swansea pack were to get one more chance with a scrum five.
The RGC defence remained solid and charged down an attempted Davies drop goal attempt. They drove Swansea backwards and clinched victory, send the crowd into raptures.
Next up for RGC is a trip to Carmarthen, while Swansea host Llandovery.
Full-time:- RGC 1404 35 Swansea 34
RGC 1404 scorers:
Tries:- Tom Hughes (7, 30), Dion Jones (11), Afon Bagshaw (45)
Cons:- Jacob Botica (8, 12, 31)
Pens:- Jacob Botica (15, 36, 47)
Tries:- Aled Cockwell (4), Ashleigh James (39), Tom Sloane (44), Jon Fox (56), Tom Ham (80+4)
Cons:- James Davies (5, 40, 57)
Pens:- James Davies (26)
Venue:- Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay
Referee:- Elfyn Roberts
Weather:- Light cloud, 6C
Man of the match:- Tom Hughes
RGC 1404 team:
15 Dion Jones (rep: Harri Evans 65)
14 Afon Bagshaw
13 Tom Hughes
12 Tiaan Loots ©
11 Aron Evans
10 Jacob Botica
9 Alex Schwarz
1 Curtis Reynolds (rep: Joe Simpson 41)
2 Rhys Williams (rep: Evan Yardley 41)
3 Sam Wainwright
4 Robin Williams
5 Henri Williams
6 Tim Grey (rep: Mei Parry 52)
7 Will Bryan
8 Alex Taylor
16 Evan Yardley
17 Joe Simpson
18 Jordan Scott
19 Calum Donnelly
20 Mei Parry
21 Henry Maitland-Davies
22 Harri Evans
23 Elis Roberts
15 Gareth Walters
14 Liam Smith (rep: Owen Howe 41)
13 Callum Carson
12 J Rhys Williams
11 Jake Randell (rep: Tom Ham 76)
10 James Davies
9 Rhodri Wells (rep: Matthew Aubrey 41)
1 Tom Sloane
2 Ashleigh James (rep: Paul John 76)
3 Mitchell Walsh (rep: Fenton Holder 29 (rep: Hugh Gustafson 79))
4 Sam Kiley (rep: Tudor Hughes 61)
5 Matt Dodd
6 Jon Vaughan
7 Aled Cockwell (rep: Tom Ball 58)
8 Jon Fox ©
16 Paul John
17 Hugh Gustafson
20 Fenton Holder
19 Tudor Hughes
18 Tom Ball
21 Matthew Aubrey
23 Jedd Evans
22 Owen Howe