Friday, 10 October 2014

Match Report: Swansea Uni RFC 18-8 Cardiff Uni RFC

Swansea University have drawn first blood on the road to Welsh Varsity as the Green and Whites were good value for their BUCS Premier South A success over their bitter rivals Cardiff at Sketty Lane.
The hosts outscored the Red and Blacks two tries to one after the visitors were unable to make a strong wind advantage pay before the break, with all three touchdowns coming after the interval.
There were some impressive performances from players on both sides. Swansea’s prop pairing of Tom Cross and Sean McDonnell-Roberts got through a lot of work in the loose, while the centre partnership of Jedd Evans and Olly Jenner worked well in midfield. Flanker Chris Williams looked classy and was the Red and Blacks' standout player, while winger Tom O’Flaherty was also dangerous with the ball in hand.
The conditions hampered both teams as a swirling wind and torrential rain badly affected the opening half in particular, and it ended tied at 3-3 apiece with penalties from Swansea’s Spencer Cawley and Cardiff’s Sam Parsons cancelling each other out.
Despite the typical Sketty Lane conditions, both teams' intention to play rugby was evident as they each dominated for certain periods in the opening 40.
Swansea’s set piece was firing immediately with the hosts having a small advantage in this area all afternoon.
Despite a bright Swansea start, it was Louie Tonkin's troops that had the first chance of points. None materialised, however, as Parson’s long range effort drifted wide of the upright, while moments later the hosts'  Cawley made no mistake from 30 metres out.
The reigning Varsity Cup champions weren’t ahead for very long, however, with Parsons successful from the tee this time to level up proceedings.
Cardiff continued to grow into the match, with hooker Alun Evans’ rampaging run down the blindside only halted by a great Josh Guy tackle.
However, Cardiff were unable to make their possession and territory pay as the hosts finished the half the stronger - centre Evans’ clever angle off fly half Liam Crandon driving Swansea deep into their opposition 22. But the visitors' line was intact when referee Jason Bessant blew for half time with Cawley seeing an effort from the tee miss late on.
Now playing with the wind, Swansea upped the intensity in their bid to press home the advantage and they were soon in front, with Cawley firing over his second penalty.
Pressure was now beginning to mount on the Cardiff line - after several phases centre Evans created a hole in the Red and Black defence with prop McDonnell-Roberts getting his reward for an industrious afternoon, trundling over from 5 yards. Cawley added the extras.
Swansea’s tails were now up and looked threatening from all over the pitch and it wasn’t long till the home team were celebrating once more.
Full of confidence, the Swansea back line launched a devastating attack from their own half with winger Pete Moore finishing off the move in the corner.
In the ascendancy, Swansea were perhaps guilty of bringing on one too many replacements and when both teams were reduced to 14 men, with Cawley and Alun Evans each receiving a yellow card, the game became even for fragmented.
The hosts' once organised defensive line now looked in disarray and were caught a number of times far too narrow as Cardiff began to spread the ball.
O’Flaherty’s jinking hips and pace saw him clear the Swansea defence, with a superb tackle from full-back James Phillips required to stop the flyer - the line at his mercy.
However, O’Flaherty was not to be denied as the winger darted over out-wide for what turned out to be a consolation score as Swansea saw out the closing moments.

Next up for Swansea is a trip to early league leaders Exeter while Cardiff host Hartpury at Llanrumney. 

Star Man: Jedd Evans (Swansea University)


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