Thursday, 7 November 2013

Swansea land first blow on road to Varsity

Swansea University clinched their maiden win in the BUCS Premier South A with a 28-0, clinical victory over Welsh Varsity rivals Cardiff at a wet and windy Sketty Lane.

The hosts went into the match on the back of four defeats, including a heavy home loss two weeks earlier to league leaders Hartpury, but completely overpowered their visitors with a one sided second half showing.
The Green and Whites' defence was what ultimately won them the match- their tackling was ferocious and their line speed in the blitz defence left the Cardiff backs with nowhere to turn.
Excellent physicality by the Swansea forwards at the breakdown saw the Red and Blacks muscled out of proceedings, with the back row unit of Ollie Young, Jack Perkins and Adam Scanlon a constant thorn in the visitors' side.
After a difficult start to the season, Head Coach Richard Lancaster was delighted with his side’s first win of the campaign.
“We really billed this as a must win game. After the loss to Hartpury, we really targeted our defence and that was a huge positive for us today. We won the match in the first half - they really hammered our line but our defence stood firm, and that set us up for the win."
Cardiff were playing with the strong wind at their backs in the opening half but were unable to utilise it to their advantage, and although they huffed and puffed in attack, were unable to break down the solid host defence and trailed 5-0 at the interval.
Like all matches between the two teams, the opening exchanges were of a ferocious offering but, coupled with the atrocious weather conditions, the match failed to ignite.
Martyn Fowler’s side had most of the early territory and possession and had the first chance at points, with fly-half Dan Brownlee hitting the upright with one penalty before dragging another wide.
Swansea gradually grew into the match and used their forward dominance to good effect, with referee Jamie Morgan repeatedly pinging the visitors at the breakdown. And they opened the scoring after a sustained period of pressure in their opponents' 22, a Swansea scrum ten metres from the line providing the platform for the attack.
No 8 Scanlon picked up the base and made inroads towards the whitewash. The ball was then quickly recycled and, after a few more phases, it was shipped wide where lock Josh Walker bulldozed his way over. Fly-half Jack Shields missed the difficult extras.
The remainder of the half saw Cardiff having the majority of the territory and possession but the visitors were simply unable to manufacture a way through, with Perkins scavenging well at the breakdown while locks Walker and Jon Barley were a constant nuisance at ruck time.
The second half started in scrappy style with neither side able to gain the upper hand, despite perhaps the Cardiff backs looking to counter attack more with the ball in hand with the wind in their faces. Full back Ben White cut the line well on a number of occasions as Brownlee looked to open play up.
Meanwhile, the Red and Blacks' most dangerous player in attack was scrum-half John Preddy, whose quick tap penalties and sniping around the fringes had the Swansea defence scrambling on numerous occasions.
With the conditions not conducive to running rugby, this first bit of real class in the back line came just before the hour mark from the home side with Swansea full back Elliot Jones finishing off a well executed move.
Quick ball off the top of the line-out saw Shields find replacement Andrew Claypole with an inside ball to cut the line beautifully, before popping the ball to Jones to touchdown. Shields also slotted the easy conversion for a 12-0 lead.
From that point on, Cardiff were always chasing the game and their indiscipline began to tell when three quick-fire penalties saw the visitors leak nine points via the boot of Shields, with the Red and Blacks' Jack Wilson also earning a yellow card in that time.
By this time, the vocal student support was in fine voice as the home fans urged their side to finish the clash in style, and Lancaster’s men didn’t disappoint.
Shields, on half way, spotted space in behind the Cardiff back three and chipped through, the ball bouncing kindly for Claypole who gathered well before being scragged.
The ball was quickly recycled with Jones stopped metres from bagging his second, but Young was there to pick up and drive over for a much deserved score. And the icing on the cake came with the last kick of the game, as Shields fired over the conversion.
Swansea travel to Cyncoed next Wednesday when they clash with Cardiff Met in another Welsh derby encounter, while Cardiff host Exeter on November 20.

Star Man-Jack Perkins.

Swansea: Tries: J Walker 15, E Jones 57, O Young 80+2; Cons: J Shields 58, 80+3; Pens: Shields 63, 66, 77.



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