NEATH 10 points BEDWAS 40 points
An impressive Bedwas tore Neath apart in the first half to stack up a 5-try 35-3 interval lead before the All Blacks showed some improvement to at least make a fight of it in the second-half.
Following Gareth Llewellyn’s eve-of-match departure, Neath looked shaken at the start of this game. Just as the effects of the earthquake centred on Cwmllynfell were being felt across South Wales, they conceded a penalty try within four minutes of kick off and had winger Alec Jenkins of all people yellow-carded for trying to stop an unstoppable driving maul travelling at speed.
Four minutes later, Bedwas repeated the trick to set up a try for scrum-half Tom Rowlands, Steffan Jones converting. In the 13th minute the craziness of rugby’s law-interpretations was amply illustrated when Ed Howley got Neath on the board with a penalty. Centre Matthew Pearce was high-tackled, necessitating his replacement by debut-making Ryan Pugh (Aberavon Quins).
Some home supporters were calling for a yellow card which would have been harsh but rugby’s laws cannot be right when foul play – albeit not particularly nasty except for the unlucky Pearce who faces a lengthy lay-off – sees a team remain at full complement while a technical infringement with no injury sees a man binned ?
Bedwas were soon back on the attack though and, after as blatant a piece of obstruction on James Roberts as the officials could possibly ignore (and they missed a lot), flanker James Richards crossed on the other side. Then Rowlands added his second, Jones converting both, and the visitors had the bonus point – to say nothing of the match- neatly parcelled up within 21 minutes.
Neath managed to stem the assault with No.8 Elis Hopkins setting a good example but just before half-time Rowlands completed his hat-trick and Jones converted to make it 35-3.
In the second-half, Neath improved somewhat as the replacements flowed on both sides and it took Bedwas until the 58th minute before they scored next and then only from a pass which was signalled forward by the assistant but over-ruled by the poor referee.
Adam Williams was the fortunate beneficiary but thereafter Neath started keeping the ball and they deservedly got a score back when outside-half Iwan Evans crossed wide out and Howley goaled via the right upright from wide out.
Of the Neath forwards, both hookers Sion Crocker and his debutant replacement young Garin Lloyd (Banwen and Neath College), replacement Ryan Thomas and No.8 Elis Hopkins were good; behind, the two scrum-halves Scott Gibson and another teenager Dalton Brown were clever and Ryan Pugh had a promising first game too.
It was actually 7-5 to Neath in the second-half but small consolation as well-drilled Bedwas had it all sewn up in the first-half and there was never any realistic hope of toppling it.
Lyn Jones commences his duties on Monday and evidently there is a lot to do with a trip to Cardiff (kick off 11.30am) next Saturday.
Neath entertain Bedwas in the Welsh Premiership on Saturday (kick off 2.30pm).
Alec Jenkins, Gavin Evans and Scott Gibson return behind the scrum with Geraint James, Matthew Davies and Aled Morris coming into the pack. Chris Morgans returns to the bench where he is joined by Neath College prospect Garin Lloyd and Aberavon Quins outside-half Ryan Pugh.
Neath v Bedwas (Home)
15 Ed Howley; 14 James Roberts, 13 Matthew Pearce, 12 Gavin Evans (captain), Alec Jenkins; 10 Iwan Evans, 9 Scott Gibson; 1 Ben Uphill, 2 Sion Crocker, 3 Geraint James; 4 Matthew Davies, 5 Jon Barley; 6 Rhys Jones, 8 Elis Hopkins, 7 Aled Morris
Replacements – 16 Liam Tobias, 17 Garin Lloyd, 18 Ryan Thomas, 19 Ryan Bean, 20 Ceri White, 21 Dalton Brown, 22 Ryan Pugh, 23 Chris Morgans
Following the news of Gareth Llewellyn departing The Gnoll, Neath team manager Martyn Morris reflected on Neath’s injury woes and said, “It is very disappointing as I was instrumental in bringing Gareth in and we have been team-mates and good friends for 30 years.
“After a strong end to last season, fate has dealt us and Gareth a particularly cruel hand this year in terms of the extensive injuries we have suffered – not only our own key players but also the academy allocation have been wiped out.
“We have had to go outside the squad for 28 players and, in recent games, over 20 players have been unavailable. We know results have not been good enough in what is a challenging environment but I am sure in better circumstances Gareth would have flourished.”
Former Wales captain leaves coaching role at club where he became a legend after ‘season from hell’ – Wales Online
Neath RFC have parted company with Gareth Llewellyn as head coach, with the former Wales captain saying he’s ‘disappointed’ to have been relieved of his duties. Llewellyn departs after two-and-a-half seasons heading up the operation at The Gnoll.
Neath RFC have parted company with Gareth Llewellyn as head coach, with the former Wales captain saying he’s ‘disappointed’ to have been relieved of his duties.
Llewellyn departs after two-and-a-half seasons heading up the operation at The Gnoll.
RGC 66 points NEATH 3 points
It was very bad – if not quite as bad throughout – as it looks as a patched up Neath side gave of their best and, despite the sending-off of prop Ryan Thomas, held the rampant North Wales side for fully 65 minutes before they collapsed as spectacularly as a row of deckchairs in a Blackpool wind.
Even with 14 men, Neath’s stitched together side battled hard and managed to out-scrummage the home side but were under the cosh in other phases. It was just nil-3 when Thomas received his marching orders in an incident not instigated by him and for which his assailant received only a yellow – which was a bit odd.
There were 38 minutes on the clock before RGC got their first try by Dan Owen and on half-time they added another by Tim Grey, Danny Cross converting both to go with his earlier penalty.
In the second half, Howley banged over a penalty to reach 100 points for the season before Andrew Williams got RGC’s third converted by Botica – a very handy replacement – and the home side got their bonus point through a second try by Owens, Botica converting, with 13 minutes to go.
But Neath were visibly tiring – the loss of their entire back row and numerical deficiency saw RGC move the ball almost at will and, in a grandstand finish, they more than doubled their score with five tries by Deiniol Jones (2), Tom Hughes, Harold Evans and Afan Bagshaw, all converted by Botica. RGC were very clear winners – humiliating but not total ignominy.
RGC – D.Jones; A.Bagshaw, T.Loots, H.Evans, R.Williams (T.Hughes); D.Cross (J.Botica), E.Jones (A.Schwarz); J.Simpson (C.Reynolds), E.Yardley (G.Roberts), J.Scott (C.Connolly); R.Williams (C.Donnelly), M.Edwards (capt); A.Williams, W.Bryan, T.Grey (D.Owens)
NEATH – E.Howley; J.Roberts (S.Stone), S.Griffiths, M.Pearce, G.Llewellyn (C.Griffiths); I.Evans, D.Brown (J.Robbins); B.Uphill (L.Tobias), S.Crocker (capt), R.Thomas; R.Jones (M.Davies), J.Barley; Josh Cole (C.White), A.Cockwell (A.Morris), E.Hopkins (G.James)
Referee – Mr. B.Brakespear (Abercynon)
Neath make their second journey of the season on an international weekend to RGC for a Welsh Premiership fixture which kicks off at 2.00pm at Parc Eirias.
The Blacks are looking to improve on their previous visit back in November when they battled hard but went down 19-31.
Iwan Evans takes over at outside-half from the injured Gavin Evans while Dalton Brown starts at scrum half and Maesteg’s Sam Griffiths plays at centre. Sion Crocker takes over the captaincy and the Blacks are boosted by the return of back rower Josh Cole.
Neath’s team selection has been compromised by the heavy injury-list and by players having difficulty getting off work so there could be debuts off the bench for scrum-half Jak Robbins and centre Conor Griffiths while winger Steffan Stone re-appears.
Neath v RGC (Away)
15 Ed Howley; 14 James Roberts, 13 Sam Griffiths, 12 Matthew Pearce, 11 Geraint Llewellyn; 10 Iwan Evans, 9 Dalton Brown; 1 Ben Uphill, 2 Sion Crocker (captain), 3 Ryan Thomas; 4 Rhys Jones, 5 Jon Barley; 6 Elis Hopkins, 8 Josh Cole, 7 Aled Cockwell
Replacements – 16 Liam Tobias, 17 Aled Morris, 18 Geraint James, 19 Matthew Davies, 20 Ceri White, 21 Jak Robbins, 22 Conor Griffiths, 23 Steffan Stone
Neath visit RGC for the second time this season on Saturday and the North Walians’ Fanzone, which will be located in between the south stand and Gate C car park will be open from 12:30pm and following our game will be showing the Wales v England game on the ‘Big Screen’ and any Neath supporters making the trip are welcome to watch the international there.
Lyn Jones is back in Welsh rugby — as coaching consultant to Neath RFC. The former Ospreys and Dragons team boss has spent the past year in Namibia, heading up the Welwitschias, a club that competes in the Currie Cup first division. But Jones is now back where it all started for him in senior rugby.
Lyn Jones is back in Welsh rugby — as coaching consultant to Neath RFC.
The former Ospreys and Dragons team boss has spent the past year in Namibia, heading up the Welwitschias, a club that competes in the Currie Cup first division.
But Jones is now back where it all started for him in senior rugby.
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The Cardiff v Neath fixture scheduled for Saturday 24th February at Cardiff Arms Park will now kick-off at 11.30am
due to the Ireland v Wales match which follows at 2.15pm.
Due to the recent bad weather, Neath College’s game next Wednesday afternoon has been switched from The Gnoll to Llandarcy.
This will conserve The Gnoll pitch ahead of Thursday’s scheduled Premiership game Neath against Cross Keys (kick off 7.30pm).