RGC 23 Merthyr 17
Sunday 8th September 2019
The game swung in RGC’s favour when Merthyr Full-back Matthew Jarvis was yellow carded for an intentional knock-on. At the time the visitors were leading 14-9 but with a man advantage the Gogs scored a try from Rhys Tudor and the momentum shifted.
It was an edgy first half with both sides trading penalties. The boot of Billy McBryde and the Merthyr fly-half Rhys Jones made it a 9-all game at the break.
Tom Hughes was impressing with some powerful carries, as RGC were looking to find that space in defence.
Merthyr caused some problems to RGC when the managed to turnover ball, but again the home defence was composed and dealt with the attacks.
Jordan Scott made a huge tackle on Ashley Norton as he raced down the wing, and that set the tone for the half.
Danger man Aaron Pinches also prodded at the gaps in the backline but didn’t cause to many problems in the 80 minutes.
Rhys Tudor was making his debut on the wing, and his run and sidestep brought the game to live as dodged the Merthyr tackles.
2nd half the Ironmen started with some real intent and tested the Gogs defence with some strong running from Hemi Barnes.
The pressure told when Matthew Jarvis ran in at the corner, but Jones failed to add the extras.
Jarvis was then yellowed minutes later and the tide turned. The case for a penalty try could have been made, but RGC got their reward minutes later. RGC controlled the phases and created some space before a crossfield kick found winger Rhys Tudor who collected the ball in the air and scored. McBryde hit the conversion to take the lead.
Merthyr had a chance to regain the lead, but the boot of Jones misfired with the penalty.
The discipline of the visitors was being highlighted and with the extra man RGC extended the lead with a driving maul, before George Roberts crossed over for the try. McBryde again hit the conversion.
The champions spirit didn’t die, and they looked to get back in the game. Sam Jones looked on before a pass was spun too high and he couldn’t take advantage.
RGC defended the line with Beau Williams and Robin Williams standing a few runners up.
Tension built when Merthyr’s Rhys Jones knocked a penalty over to bring them within 6 points in the last 5 minutes
Memories of last seasons last gasp defeat would have been etched on players and supporters’ minds, but this time RGC were strong in that defence and composed to keep going in the tackles.
Merthyr again targeted the lineout and driving maul, but RGC’s Andrew Williams nicked 2 lineouts to the relief of the watching crowd, and the victory was claimed.