Saturday 25th November 2017
After leading 32 to 17 at half-time RGC had to hang on deep into the 2nd half for the bonus point victory.
Head Coach Mark Jones expected a test, but his players also caused their own problems the 2nd half “We never underestimated Swansea, as we only drew with them when they had 14 men last time outs, so we didn’t take them lightly. “When you look at the game we went from controlling it, to giving them the control and that was due to our poor discipline. If we had solved that then we would have solved all our problems.”
“Unforced errors giving away penalties then gave Swansea the opportunities to get back in the game. Swansea has a good driving maul and in these conditions you can look at conceding a couple of tries but to give them 4 was down to our lack of discipline. Stop giving the penalties away and then they don’t have the chance to e it. If you look at the stats we defended over 50% of their driving mauls but they just had too many chances to use it as a weapon.”
Swansea led with an early try after a driving maul, with Ashley James getting the touchdown. Fly-half Davies knocked over the conversion. RGC then came out the blocks and he backline fired the ball around along with some direct running. It wasn’t long before Tom Hughes spotted the gap and went over. Conversion from Botica squared the score.
If the temperature was dropping it was hotting up on the field when great hands from Tiaan Loots gave the ball to Dion Jones who fired the afterburners to run in from the halfway line. Botica nudged the kick over.
The scoreboard edged on with a Botica penalty and RGC were looking pretty comfortable.
If Swansea were offering one threat it was the line-out/driving maul combination and they went close again to scoring before RGC managed to get turnover ball.
The All Whites scored with a penalty to close the game midway through the half.
Try number 3 came for RGC after Bagshaw kicked ahead, Dion Jones collected before a pop pass to Tom Hughes and the centre did the rest. The boot of Botica was in target again with the extras.
Scwharz was next to test the line with a pick and go from the scrum but was stopped short. On form Botica extended the RGC lead to 27-10 with another penalty.
The warning sides from the visitor’s pack were clearly visible and it was no surprise that the opted for another line-out and maul in the RGC 22 metre line, and the 2nd try for hooker James arrived.
Just before halftime RGC picked up the bonus point try, after the home side worked the ball wide to Bagshaw for the winner to get over the whitewash.
With the score 32-17 at halftime RGC left the field in control of the game with plenty of points on the board. That all changed in the 2nd half and it began with anther Swansea try from a driving maul, the pack drove on and rumbled over the line. The Gog’s answered back with anther direct run from Loots which led to a Botica penalty score.
The penalty count was racking up for RGC, which was leaving the door open for Swansea to get back into the game. As the minutes rolled on so did the Swansea maul as time and time again they tested the RGC defence.
Try number 4 came for Swansea from another maul and they sensed they had a chance to pull the game back when Davies hit the conversion and it was a 6 point lead for RGC.
With 20 minutes left the game was pretty much penalty, line-out, maul and repeat as Swansea tested the RGC defence over and over.
Every time RGC manged to clear with the boot or a break they were soon penalised around the breakdown area and the All Whites attack gained momentum again.
That momentum turned into try when Aldc Cockwell went over in the 78th minute and fly-half Davies had a chance to win the match but conversion dropped short much to the relief of the Stadiwm Zip World crowd.
Those nerves were still to be tested deep into the 80th minute as Swansea had multiple scrums that got close to the RGC line.
Credit to the RGC defence to managed to put bodies, arms and every other part of their bodies between the ball and the try-line.
That defensive work earned the win in the end, but RGC made hard work of the 2nd half to get it.