Wednesday, 12 February 2014

BUCS: Swansea University RFC 16 - 11 Bath University RFC

Swansea University moved out of the BUCS Premier South A relegation zone thanks to a gritty and determined victory over Bath at a windswept Sketty Lane.

Conditions were atrocious with a severe gale hampering any efforts of expansive rugby. However, it was the hosts that handled the weather better with Swansea fly half Jack Shields firing home two pressure kicks late on in proceedings.

With the wind in their faces, the Green and Whites put in the hard graft before the break and limited the visitors to a 6-5 advantage, despite being pinned in their own territory for the majority of the half.

From kick-off, Bath almost immediately captured the lead when Swansea infringed in their own 22 and full-back George Drury fired over the resultant penalty.

Early on, Bath looked dangerous but a quick-tap penalty from Swansea scrum-half, Josh Guy, was the catalyst for a quick response from the hosts.

Guy broke the initial line of defence and set winger Andrew Claypole free, although the flyer still had work to do to outpace the cover defence.

However, there was no hope for Shields to add the extras from out right with the wind in his face.

Richard Lancaster’s troops were now in the ascendancy and although they struggled to drive out of their own half the forwards kept it tight, maintaining possession for several minutes at a time as they starved the life out of Bath’s attack.

However, as the half drew to a close, the visitors were once again on top but saw a couple of penalty attempts go begging before Marcus Beer was successful with his third attempt on the stroke of half time to edge them ahead heading into the break.

If Swansea thought that in riding the first half storm they were set for a breeze of a half, then they got a rude awakening.

After several missed tackles Bath advanced up the left flank with Drury finishing the incisive move to stretch their lead.

And now Bath, without the wind behind them, looked a much more dangerous adversary as they set-out to run the ball at every opportunity, with replacement Adam Anker going on several barnstorming charges.

Cheered on by a throng of passionate, yet wind-blown supporters, Swansea regained their composure after some harsh words from influential back row Reuben Tucker.

An Elliot Jones attack sent the hosts driving into the opposition 22 and a resultant scrum V to Swansea provided the platform for the Green and Whites to strike.

After several pick-and-gos, the hosts crossed the whitewash with Tucker emerging with the ball from under a pile of bodies.

Shields missed the conversion but the hosts were once again on the front foot.

However, they did make hard work of it, initially inviting pressure from the visitors, but with ten minutes remaining, good work at the breakdown saw the hosts rewarded with a penalty 30 metres out.

Shields stepped up and fired Swansea into a 13-11 lead, and straight from the restart the process was replicated with Shields knocking over another penalty, essentially putting the must-win game to bed.

Overall, Swansea deserved the victory due in large part to their physicality and tenacious spirit.

The win sees the Green and Whites move off the bottom of the BUCS table which is now occupied by Varisty rivals, Cardiff. Swansea play their last league fixture next Wednesday against Cardiff Met at Cyncoed.

Star Man: Reuben Tucker (Swansea University).


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