Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Swansea University 10-46 Hartpury College

Swansea suffered their fourth straight BUCS Premier South A defeat when they were comfortably dispatched by Hartpury at Sketty Lane.

Going into the match, Hartpury had won their previous two league games while their hosts had lost three times on the road.

The West Country side’s pack was the dominant force of the day as they pushed and shoved their Swansea counterparts all around the park.

The Green and Whites’ misery could have been made worse if the visitors’ backs had executed in more ruthless fashion.

Swansea had started the brighter side with a strong wind behind them, but two breakaway tries in quick succession from the visitors saw the Gloucester outfit notch up a 12-0 lead, with Swansea’s defence more than suspect.

The first score was an opportunistic touchdown, with winger Cameron Roberts racing away to cross in the corner after a promising Swansea attack broke down.

The second was a well-worked try from the opposite wing, Mark Harrison, after great interplay from full back Jacob Perry and centre Ben Roberts that set-up Harrison to finish off and go under the posts.

Despite this, Swansea were gifted the opportunity to bag their first points shortly after with a shot at the posts thanks to an error at the restart, and fly-half Jack Shields duly obliged.

Hartpury’s 12 point lead was shortly restored with a penalty of their own from Gareth Thompson.
Using the strong wind, however, Swansea began to assert themselves and work their way into the match.

After a long spell of pressure, the hosts worked the ball out-wide and Shields cut an exquisite line to dance over, leaving the visiting defence clutching at thin air. The fly-half then dusted himself off and added the extras.

The hosts should’ve gone in at least on par with their visitors as they were camped on the opposition try line but couldn’t fulfil their attacking enterprise.

Number 8, Adam Scanlon, had the best chance but opted for a ‘Hollywood’ offload instead of taking the contact mere feet from the whitewash.

With the wind at their backs this time, Hartpury got off to a flying start after the break.

After gaining good field position, the pack drove towards the whitewash and with the maul gathering pace, Swansea were forced to illegally halt it metres from the line. The resultant penalty was taken quickly with scrum-half Mitchell Spencer burrowing over.

It was all Hartpury now and the visitors extended their lead through a penalty try which had been on the cards all afternoon. A Hartpury scrum moving at a rate of knots close to the Swansea line saw the Green and Whites disintegrate under the pressure, and the referee had no choice but to go beneath the posts.

With the result a foregone conclusion, the final twenty minutes descended into a scrappy affair, although the West Country side did manage to help themselves to another three touchdowns.

Centre Roberts got his rewards for an industrious afternoon with a well-taken solo effort, while tight head prop Jimmy Lichfield crashed over and, late on, Harrison bagged his second after gathering a cute chip from Perry.

When the final whistle blew, Swansea looked out on their feet with their resolve seemingly broken by their submissive performance at the scrums. Richard Lancaster will know his troops will need to put together a better performance when they welcome Varsity rivals Cardiff to Sketty Lane in a fortnight’s time if they are to claim their first win.


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