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IRONMEN BLOW THEIR SECOND HALF CHANCES
MERTHYR 5 SWANSEA 10 (Saturday 15th February 2020)
Merthyr lost the chance to close the gap on the other top sides in the indigo premiership after failing to take their chances against the “All Whites” of Swansea at a wet and very windy wern complex. They dominated the second half but couldn’t find their way over the try line as they fell to a shock home defeat. It was the perfect start for the all whites when outside half James Davies chipped ahead and collected his deft grubber kick to send full back Phil Jones over for a first minute try to catch the ironmen cold, Davies converted to give the visitors a 0-7 lead. In the play leading up to the try Merthyr lost tight head prop Jack Gilding who was replace by Rhys Lewis. Swansea had another chance to extend their lead further when Merthyr were penalized for driving into a ruck illegally, but the gale force wind pulled James Davies effort wide of the posts. Merthyr were then penalized once again as Jack Perkins strayed offside; Davies made no mistake as he slotted over the three points. From the restart Merthyr were then reduced to 14 men when referee Craig Evans lost patience with back row man Jack Perkins who was shown a yellow card for a professional foul. Swansea kicked for the corner, but back rowman Tom Daley stole the line-out and the danger was cleared. Merthyr drove up field into the wind and rain, Swansea were then penalised inside their 25 and Merthyr elected for a kick to the corner. Tom Daley won the lineout and the Merthyr pack drove Swansea back which resulted in them collapsing the maul. Once again Merthyr kicked to the corner keeping the pressure on Swansea and won the lineout, but the ball was spilled, and the danger was gone. With the wind at the backs in the second half Merthyr pinned Swansea deep inside their own 25, and when a high kick from outside half Rhys Davies was spilled by Phil Jones Merthyr took the scrum. Merthyr eight powered forward at the scrum but Swansea 8 collapsed, and they were given a warning by Referee Evans but no penalty. Merthyr opted for another set-piece and were rewarded when number 8 Phil Rees stayed strong from the base of the scrum and handed the pass to Tom Daley to crash over, to reduce the score 5-10. Merthyr were gaining the upper hand, and again Phil Rees made a barnstorming run from the scrum, but replacement outside Gareth Davies chose to chip ahead and the chance had gone. It was now all Merthyr has they looked for the all-important score, a fine run from second row Ben Murphy gained ground for the home side which pushed Swansea back inside their 25. A lineout near the line was adjudged not straight which gave Swansea a reprieve. Merthyr were awarded a free kick 10 meters out and took a quick tap and charged for the line but got held up short, they then went through 20 phases driving and carrying the ball to get over the line, but somehow Swansea defence kept them out. A fine run then from centre Arron Pinches who collected a kick ahead from Matthew Jarvis once again the move broke down just short of the line. With time almost up Merthyr threw everything at Swansea but that all important score would not come, and Swansea celebrated a famous win over the Premiership champions. Credit first to both sides for playing trying to play rugby in wet and very windy conditions. For the home side they will wonder how they didn’t score with all the second half possession. The Merthyr forwards worked and toiled hard all afternoon with fine games from Captain Phil Rees, second row Ben Murphy, and back rowman Ton Daley. Merthyr must put the defeat behind them as they welcome the “Black and Ambers “of Newport to the Wern for and early kick off this week prier to the Wales v France international.
Merthyr, 15 M Jarvis, 14 C Czekaj, 13 H Thomson,12 A Pinches,11 S Jones,10 R Davies,9 J James,1 C Phillips,2 R Williams,3 J Gilding,4 B Murphy,5 J Down, 6 T Daley,7 J Perkins,8 P Rees©, 16 S Evans,17 R Lewis,18 J Howe,19 B Murphy,20 G Legge, 21 R Downes,22 G Davies,23 G Dacey.
Referee Craig Evans (Neath).