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“ALL BLACK’S” MAKE IRONMEN FIGHT FOR QUARTER FINAL WIN
MERTHYR 44 NEATH 18 (Saturday 25th January 20 WRU Cup ¼ final
The Welsh “All Black’s” of Neath made Merthyr fight for this quarter final victory as the home side struggled to get a foothold on the game in the first half. Merthyr’s lineout failed to produce good clean ball for the home backs and it wasn’t until the 11 minute that Merthyr took the lead thanks to the boot of Full back Matthew Jarvis who slotted over a kick in front of the post’s, however this was short lived as Neath came straight back with a long kick from outside half Jordan Rees to level the scores 3-3. Rees should have given Neath the lead shortly after, but his kick went wide of the posts. Jarvis extended the home side lead with his second penalty from 40 meters out. Credit to Neath they kept playing and moving the ball wide and this was rewarded just before half time when Rees converted his second penalty to draw level 6-6. On the stroke of halftime Jarvis converted his third penalty which saw Merthyr go in at half time with a slender lead 9-6. What ever was said at halftime shocked the ironmen into action with Debutant back row man Garrick Legge crashing over from short range after constant pressure from the home forwards, Jarvis converted, and Merthyr had breathing space 16-6. Merthyr then began to show their class with young ex-Youth product Rhys Davies showing a little magic has he cut through the Neath defence from 35 meters out to race under the posts, Jarvis converted, and the home side had stretch to 23-6. Merthyr then piled on the pressure with Neath having no answer to the pace and strength of the Merthyr side. Following several scrum drives inside the Neath 25, Neath were down to 14 men as referee Roberts showed a yellow card for collapsing. The Merthyr pack then drove the Neath scrum back over their own line with scrum half Rhys Downes claiming the try, Jarvis converted, and the ironmen now led 30-6. Credit to Neath although they conceded three quick tries they never give in and this was rewarded when back row man Tomi Antozzi crash over in the corner following a lineout, but the kick went wide. Back came Merthyr as the game approached the last 10 minutes and a swift passing movement from the Merthyr backs was rounded off by wingman Adam Hoskins with Jarvis converting. Back came Neath once again and Merthyr gave away several penalties and they kicked deep into the corner and drove the lineout with replacement prop Gareth -Wyn-Lloyd crashing over from short range, Hall converting. But deep into injury time Merthyr had the last say when Hoskins found a gap in the Neath defence to race in for his second try, Jarvis converted, and the home side had run out winners 44-18, and into the cup semi final for the 4th year running. After the poor fist half performance Merthyr showed their class has, they ran in the 5 second half tries. But credit to the Championship side they played their part in an entertaining second half. For the ironmen Captain Phil Rees led the way with some fine runs and behind the scrum young outside half Rhys Davies looks a great prospect for the future.
Merthyr: 15 M Jarvis,14 A Hoskins,13 H Thomson,12 A Pinches,11 S Jones,10 R Davies,9 R Downes, 1 C Phillips,2 I Morris,3 J Gilding, 4 B Sier,5 J Down,6 G Legge, 7 J Thomas,8 P Rees©, 16 S Evans,17 R B Thomas,18 L Owen, 19 T Daley,20 J Perkins,21 J James,22 G Davies,23 L Lloyd.
Scorers, A Hoskins2t, G Legge 1t, R Downes 1t, R Davies 1t, M Jarvis 5c, 3p
Referee, Elfyn-Morris-Roberts( WRU).