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Neath Nail the Win

Neath Nail the Win 2 Mar 2024

RGC 15  Neath 17
Saturday 2nd March 2024

It was a disappointing afternoon at Stadiwm CSM, when RGC  lost to bottom club Neath. 
With the rain coming down for the whole 80 minutes, RGC failed to keep hold of the ball and repeatedly coughed it up in key positions, which cost them dearly in the end.
Decision-making, composure and the ability to keep the ball let them down throughout the 80 minutes and it will be a game to remember for all the wrong reasons.
Neath had the better of the  possession in the opening 10 and used the kicking game to test RGC and pin them back. They got close to the first try, but knocked on as the ball went wide.
Stoppages weren’t helping the pace of the game, as it didn’t get going.  For the whole 80 minutes the Neath line out was allowed to take an age, which was a frustrating watch.
The visitor’s had a couple of kickable penalties but opted to kick to touch and go for the lineout. 
It was a fruitful decision as the driving maul pushed on and Neath got the try, with Steff Williams converting.
Dion Jones had a chance to reply minutes later with a penalty but it went wide.
The Gogs began to get a foothold in the game, with the scrum starting to win the battle.  Again a few handling errors cost them in good positions, which looking back were costly.
Neath had a chance to extend the lead with a penalty from halfway but Steff Williams hit it wide.
Delwyn Jones and Afon Bagshaw were making the gainline breaks as they looked to find that gap in the Neath defence, but the visitors managed to get a tackle in to end any opportunities,
The visitors were happy to kick return, and it became a kick fest as we reached halftime.
RGC had their best spell of rugby when they went through phases and moved the ball quickly creating some space in the Neath defence.
A quick tap and RGC broke to the to the line, Gareth Parry touched down on his first home start.  Dion Jones converted to level the score.
They took the lead a minute later, when Dion Jones kicked ahead before Caio Parry collected and a Sam Williams grubber kicked to set up an attack that was finished by Delwyn Jones.

With a positive end to the half and the lead, it set them up to push on for the remaining 40 minutes.
The 2nd half started with the Gogs on the front foot and when the game opened up wingers Afon Bagshaw and Dafydd Williams found space.
Frustratingly they didn’t turn the possession and territory into points.  When they got towards the whitewash they spilt the ball, forced a pass and let Neath regain easy possession.
The game went flat again, with a couple of scrum resets taking the edge out the game and that dominance faded.
Neath were down to 14 men when Ryan Evans was shown a yellow for a high tackle, but RGC couldn’t capitalise.
RGC went close to the line again but knocked on as the tryline was insight, which was a trend in the 2nd half.
The rain came down harder and the ball was dropped even more.  The Gogs had a couple of opportunities to go for the posts with the penalty and opted to go for touch. With it being such a tight game on the scoreboard, in hindsight, those points would have made the difference.
Unlike RGC the visitors were clinical with their 1st visit into the Gogs 22, a penalty, driving lineout led to a try, similar to their first score. Kristian Jones added the conversion, and they had a 2-point lead.
Handling errors again crept into the RGC attack, but they did regain the lead with a Dion Jones penalty.
The sense of relief around the stadium didn’t last long, as Neath took the lead again with a Jones penalty.
With the clock on red, RGC won a penalty and the chance to claim the win but the boot of Dion Jones fired the ball wide of the posts.

Head Coach Ceri Jones “Today's defeat wasn't down to the last kick of the game, it was down to our errors and the fact we didn't respect the ball and take our chances.
I will take responsibility for the defeat, and I made a couple of calls that looking back didn't work as well as expected.
We spent a huge amount of time in their 22, but we were accurate, and it cost us.
Handling errors, keeping the ball, and controlling the phases let us down greatly and we just gave them the ball back far to easily.
Neath took advantage of our maul defence which has been good this season, but today they won that battle and credit to them.
We are all disappointed, but we can get back out next week against Carmarthen and put in a performance, as we won't play as badly as that again. The disappointment for us is that we didn't perform in front of a home crowd on a day where Afon we wanted to celebrate his 200th appearance.”