Llandovery 29 RGC 20
Head coach Matt Silva said his RGC side paid the price for gifting Llandovery a 13-point lead in the first half of Saturday’s Indigo Group Premiership clash at Church Bank.
Although the Gogs made it much more of a contest in the second period, they had left themselves too much to do and narrowly missed out on a losing bonus point.
Silva said: “The talk at half time was around how we gifted them easy tries, as they didn’t have to work that hard for the lead.
“We had a choice at half time – roll over and it would be a 50-point score or go out and try and win the half. We put in a better second half performance, got on the front foot and could have come away with a bonus point if Maynard hadn’t kicked that last penalty.”
The head coach added: “In our opening two league games we have played the top two sides from last season, and it doesn’t get any easier next time out against Pontypridd. We have a few weeks’ break, but the game can’t come quick enough as we want to get back to winning ways.”
RGC gave themselves too much to claw back after a disappointing opening 40 minutes at Church Bank.
A combination of being off the pace in defence and slow in attack enabled Llandovery to head into the break 19-6 ahead.
The Drovers struck first when scrum-half Lee Rees was allowed too much space to run in from halfway and score, Maynard hitting the extras.
RGC got back into some rhythm, Billy McBryde putting them on the scoreboard with a penalty.
Try number two for the hosts was another poor one to concede with some soft tackles and chase defence enabling Llandovery to run the ball from their own 22 before Jack Jones crossed.
McBryde was able to land another penalty before Rees grabbed his second try just before half time, darting from the lineout to skip three tackles and run over the whitewash. Maynard kicked the conversion for the 13-point lead.
RGC were much improved after the break, McBryde going over for his side’s first try, which he converted.
However, another lapse in defensive concentration led to the bonus point try for Llandovery when a run through midfield ended with a Dino Dallavalle try. The boot of Maynard was on point with the kick.
With 15 minutes remaining Tom Hughes gave his side some hope with a try, with McBryde’s boot making it 26-20.
However, Maynard put the game out of losing bonus point reach with a penalty.
Scarlets West 22 RGC Under-16 21
The North Wales visitors went agonisingly close to completing their first bloc of Regional Age Grade games this season unbeaten but went down by a single point to a highly skilful Scarlets side at St Clears RFC on Sunday.
The away side started best and after a series of pick and drives close to the home line, second row Ellis Evans crossed for the opening score, converted by full-back Gruffudd Ab Ieuan.
Within a couple of minutes the hosts had pulled level through a Josh Hathaway touchdown.
After wing Dafydd Jones and then Hathaway added further tries minutes from half time it looked like it might be a long afternoon for the young Gogs.
However, showing the positive attitude present throughout their RAG campaign, with skipper Gareth Parry very much to the forefront, RGC came back strongly and were rewarded just before the interval when flanker Will Lydford powered his way over. Ab Ieuan again added the extras. Half-time: 17-14 to Scarlets.
The second half started in the same way the first had ended with RGC very much in the ascendancy and they were rewarded when replacement centre Dei Owen hit a great line and touched down untouched to the side of the posts.
With Ab Ieuan again making the conversion, RGC led 21-17.
For the next 20 minutes the game ebbed and flowed with both sides outstanding in defence, but then four minutes from time Scarlets replacement scrum-half Tomos Hughes collected a pass just inside the RGC half and split the defence to score in the left-hand corner to clinch the game.
Back RGC came again and with a minute to go it looked like they might score themselves, but with the final pass going to ground, the chance was lost.
RGC 16s head coach Gav Hodgkinson could not hide his disappointment, saying: “I really do feel for all 23 players who were out on the pitch. They put in a magnificent effort, as they have in every game this season, and I couldn’t have asked for anymore.
“We felt that we did enough to win, but I don’t want to take anything away from the Scarlets West side who played some great rugby and at the end of the day possibly took their scoring chances better than we took ours.”