- First away win of the season for Swansea
- 14 points from boot of Owen Howe sets up victory
- Swansea up to seventh in Principality Premiership
By: Paul Hopkins
Swansea climbed to seventh in the Principality Premiership with a battling victory against Aberavon at the Talbot Athletic Ground.
It was a tough start for the home side as winger Steff Andrews was stretchered off the field with a suspected broken leg.
A good lineout take by lock Ben Davies gave the Wizards an attacking platform, but centre James Garland missed a long range drop goal attempt.
It was the visitors who took the lead against the run of play with a penalty goal by full back Owen Howe.
Flanker Ben Davies collected a scrappy lineout and the home side were penalised for failing to roll away after the tackle. Scrum half Matthew Aubrey took a quick tap penalty and sent fly half Gareth Walters over for a try. Howe converted.
Offside at the breakdown by the Wizards gave Howe another penalty chance, but this time he fluffed his lines.
A superb run by winger Shaun Pearce was only halted by a high tackle. Garland hooked his effort well wide of the posts though.
Winger Andrew Claypole picked up a loose ball and set up a Whites attack, but the Wizards were penalised for killing the ball. Howe kicked the three pointer.
A good break by number eight Luke Joseph from the back of a ruck forced the visitors’ offside, but Garland hit the post with his kick at goal.
Fly half Stef Williams made a dangerous break, but he was let down by fellow half back Jacob Flynn, who spilled the ball forward.
Half-time:- Aberavon 0 Swansea 13
Following a nightmare first half, the home side were determined to gain a foothold in the game. Lock Ben Thomas rose high to take a lineout and got quick ball out to the backs, but a poor kick by Williams was comfortably marked by Howe.
A deliberate tap down by winger Gareth Rees meant Swansea were temporarily reduced to 14 men. It made little difference though as Howe extended the visitors’ lead to 16 points after flanker Joe Tomalin-Reeves held on after the tackle.
Tomlin-Reeves ripped possession from the grasp of Rees and the Whites’ defence had no option but to kill the ball. Garland kicked to the corner and a powerful maul gifted Flynn an easy platform to score in the corner.
The home side were penalised for entering a maul from the side and Howe stepped up to kick Swansea 14 points ahead.
A superb break through the middle by Garland meant Aberavon were back on the front foot. A desperate Swansea defence pulled down a maul and the centre kicked to the corner.
A crucial lineout take by lock Jay Williams saved the Whites, but a moment of controversy followed when a member of the Swansea coaching staff prevented a quick lineout, giving Garland another chance to find touch deep inside the Swansea twenty-two.
The move came to nothing though when hooker Ieuan Davies dropped the ball and shortly after Swansea were able to celebrate a back-to-back victory for the first time since their return to the Premiership.
Next up for Aberavon is a trip to Bargoed, while Swansea host Cross Keys.
Full-time:- Aberavon 7 Swansea 19
Tries:- Jacob Flynn (61)
Cons:- Stef Williams (62)
Tries:- Gareth Walters (23)
Cons:- Owen Howe (24)
Pens:- Owen Howe (17, 33, 52, 65)
Yellow cards:- Gareth Rees (45), Steffan Jones (61)
Venue:- Talbot Athletic Ground, Port Talbot
Referee:- Aled Liddington
Weather:- Light rain, 10C
Man of the match:- Owen Howe
15 Chris Banfield
14 Shaun Pearce
13 Will Price
12 James Garland ©
11 Stef Andrews (rep: Liam Popham 4)
10 Steff Williams
9 Jacob Flynn (rep: Callum Morris 65)
1 Tomos Northey (rep: Chris Davies 23-36, 52)
2 Ieuan Davies
3 Rhys Forse
4 Ben Thomas
5 Ben Davies (rep: Jacob Blackmore 40+5)
6 Lee Purnell
7 Joe Tomalin-Reeves (rep: Rob Dudley-Jones 65)
8 Luke Joseph
16 Callum Morris
17 Liam Popham
18 Rhydian George
19 Jacob Blackmore
20 Rob Dudley-Jones
21 Alun Dew
22 Chris Davies
23 Marc Breeze
15 Owen Howe
14 Andrew Claypole (rep: Jake Randell 68)
13 R Rhys Williams (rep: Dan Howells 80+1)
12 J Rhys Williams
11 Gareth Rees
10 Gareth Walters
9 Matthew Aubrey
1 Tom Sloane © (rep: Jack Powell 80)
2 Paul John (rep: Karl McCowen 78)
3 Mitchell Walsh (rep: Richard Murphy 66)
4 Sam Kiley
5 Jay Williams
6 Jon Vaughan (rep: Steffan Jones 40+7)
7 Ben Davies (rep: James Parry 70)
8 Jon Fox
16 Karl McCowen
17 Jack Powell
18 Richard Murphy
19 Steffan Jones
20 James Parry
21 Josh Guy
22 Jake Randell
23 Dan Howells