Rhiwbina RFC | 1st Team 20 - 32 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Dafydd Edwards
1 Try
Dean Gunter
3 Conversion
2 Drop Goal
Richard Davies
1 Try
Elgan Lewis
1 Try
Lewys Cooke
1 Try

Match Report
13 January 2019 / Team News

Rhiwbina 20 Brecon 32

“To be the best you have to beat the best.” Those were the words that were ringing in the Brecon team’s ears as they made the journey to the Capital City for the second time in 10 days. The words from Brecon’s coaching team of Andy Powell, Matthew J Watkins and Matthew Lewis were as appropriately motivational and completely true. For the second time in consecutive rounds of the WRU Plate, Brecon travelled away to face one of the top sides in League Division 1 East Central. The win at Rumney had been outstanding but that was now behind them and the challenge of facing Rhiwbina was another step up. Rhiwbina had been having an outstanding season with 11 wins from their 12 league and Plate matches and with a 100% home record. With Brecon boasting a 100% record of their own, this was a game in which something would have to give with the mouth-watering prize of a place in the last eight of the Plate competition hanging on the result.

With so much at stake the match was eagerly anticipated and a large contingent of Brecon supporters made the journey down the A470. What transpired certainly didn’t disappoint. The game between two excellent sides was a tight, close affair and yet it served up 7 tries. There would be a temptation to say that perhaps there were lapses in defence but that would not reflect what actually transpired. Defences on both sides were solid and aggressive and the scores in general came as a result of some excellent and effective attacking play. The tension in the game also continued right into the closing stages. Brecon were never behind in the game but every time the seemed to start to pull away on the scoreboard Rhiwbina hit back to keep the rival supporters on tenterhooks.

Brecon’s ultimate success was based a consummate team performance in which every individual contributed towards the outstanding victory. Looking at those performances it would be appropriate to start with the front row. With the game evenly poised at 3 points all after Dean Gunter’s penalty was matched by that of Lewis Pearce, Brecon’s Hooker Elgan Lewis opened the try scoring. With Brecon pressing hard in Rhiwbina’s 22 they needed to come away with a score after spurning an earlier opportunity. An attacking maul was set up and it inched forward and attracted defensive attention. Elgan, who had a great all round game, spotted a gap at the fringe of the maul and burst away to score a try which Gunter converted from a wide angle. Alongside Elgan in the front row was Andy Nicholl whose powerful presence particularly in the scrum cannot be undervalued and was essential to the overall success of the team. The third member of that unit, Richie Davies, was absolutely outstanding and his try with ten minutes to go, was critical to Brecon’s success.

Having taken the lead Brecon produced period of flowing, attacking rugby. Against a very good defence Brecon’s general, Dean Gunter, was astute in the way he mixed up his play was not afraid to use his outside backs even when playing out of defence. He prompted the move which led to Brecon’s second try. His flat pass to Sam Campbell allowed the powerful centre to break towards the line. He was halted just short but Brecon maintained their pressure through a number of impressive phases against an outstanding defence. Maintaining their focus they finally drew the home defence in and a wide pass put the impressive Dafydd Edwards in for a try. Campbell who initiated the attack also continued as a rock in mid-field with co-centre Cameron Gardner. Against a lively opposing back line they had to be at their best and they were as they snuffed out or closed down any threatening attack. Gardner was also a threat in attack. His early break in the first half should have resulted in a try and his long break out of defence in the second half was outstanding and should have led to a score.

Having gained a twelve point advantage Brecon allowed Rhiwbina to gain a foothold in Brecon territory when they failed to clear effectively from the kick off. Rhiwbina seized their opportunity and went for a line out in the corner. Brecon held out for a good eight minutes but conceded a number of penalties and finally on the stroke of half time the impressive home driving maul proved to be irresistible and Pat Ware scored under a pile of bodies.

During the half time interval the quick and elusive Dafydd Edwards succumbed to an injury and Lewys Cooke entered the fray as his deputy. What an able deputy he proved to be. Rhiwbina again capitalised from Brecon’s failure to secure the kick off. They exerted enormous pressure deep in Brecon territory and only magnificent defence kept them at bay. A try looked certain as prolific home wing Dafydd Williams broke away to home in on the corner. Brecon wing Mike Powell pulled off a wonderful try saving tackle, bundling the wing into touch near the corner. The significance of that brilliant cover tackle cannot be overstated particularly in view of what followed. With Rhiwbina still pressing deep in Brecon’s half, Cooke read the play beautifully and intercepted a pass on his 22. He showed great pace and composure as he raced away to score under the posts for Gunter to convert. That cushion was needed as Rhiwbina immediately responded with a massive driving maul on half way. Brecon just could not resist its advance and more and more players were drawn in until their defence was drawn in, leaving the flank exposed. Rhiwbina saw the opportunity and suddenly moved the ball wide allowing full back Josh Moscardini a clear run to the line.

Brecon hit back through a Gunter penalty when another of Ewan Williams’ trade mark runs was stopped with a high tackle. Rhiwbina, however, had now found an effective weapon in their driving maul and when Brecon were penalised for holding on as they tried to run out of defence, Pearce slotted the penalty into the corner. Another drive proved to be successful as Ware registered his second try to reduce Brecon’s lead to just 5 points.

The game had reached a final critical stage and things seemed to turn against Brecon as Influential second row Jonathan James was yellow carded for a high tackle. His loss with twelve minutes to go was massive. He and partner Darren Witcomb had been an impressive force while carrying through hard yards and inflicting shuddering tackles. Yet in the face of adversity Brecon produced some of their best play of the second half. The back row of Ioan Edwards, Davey Herdman and Ewan Williams were outstanding and helped Brecon to keep possession away from their opponents. Suddenly the game came towards a dramatic conclusion. On half way Darren Witcomb made another powerful run. Quick ball was moved to full back Eifion Jones who continued his excellent form with a great break. He found young scrum half Geraint Workman in support.  Workman who had prompted and cajoled throughout the game, continued the break and showed composure beyond his years as he was closed down deep in the home 22. He looked for support and found it in outstanding prop Richie Davies. Davies still had a man to beat and he did it in an unexpected way. After all his hard graft in scrums, rucks and mauls he produced a wonderful side-step and crossed the line without a finger being laid on him. Gunter converted and Brecon’s 12 point lead was restored with time running out. Rhiwbina did not give up but now Brecon’s defence held firm through to the final whistle to record an outstanding victory that sees them enter Monday’s quarter final draw. The result of that draw will be eagerly anticipated.