Tata Steel (PT) RFC | 1st Team 19 - 26 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Sam Jones
1 Try
Thomas Richards
1 Try
Dion Mcintosh
3 Conversion
Osian Davies
1 Try

Match Report
21 March 2024 / Team News

Tata Steel 19 - Brecon 26

As the teams trooped off the pitch disappointment was etched on the faces of the Brecon players and coaching team. At first glance that may have seemed surprising considering that Brecon had won their away tie at Tata Steel, Port Talbot, and earned a bonus point. The manner of the victory, however, did not match the high standard set by the coaching team, led by Dale McIntosh, and the standard that the players are trying to consistently emulate. A number of factors contributed to the disappointment. The previous week they produced an outstanding eighty-minute performance as they swept Maesteg Quins aside on a rain-soaked pitch. This week, the wide pitch and excellent playing surface should have suited Brecon’s style of play. Although a stiff wind blew down the field, Brecon’s travelling support anticipated a comfortable victory over a struggling Tata team which had lost all its nineteen matches this season. What actually transpired was a lacklustre performance with the only saving grace being the fact that Brecon travelled home with five league points.

It would be hard to pin down exactly what went wrong. Certainly, there appeared to be an element of underestimating their opponents. One facet of play during the first half would seem to have suggested that, subconsciously at least, that was the case. Having battled to take a seven point lead, Brecon were awarded a penalty on their 22 metre line. With the wind at their backs, the obvious choice was to kick downfield to touch, win the line out and build a score. Instead, Brecon opted to take a quick tap penalty and run. They spread the ball neatly to the right and created space on the outside but the final pass was easily intercepted and the home wing ran in unopposed to reduce the deficit to two points. This wasn’t the only time that Brecon presented the ball to their opponents. In total Brecon offered up four interceptions during the afternoon. Although Brecon were able to scramble back and prevent Tata scoring on most of these occasions, it was symptomatic of what was a far from accurate handling display. Too often passes or offloads were rushed and promising moves came to nothing.

Brecon also found themselves on the wrong side of the referee as they coughed up a plethora of penalties. It would be easy to criticise the referee for this but Brecon must take responsibility for not adapting to the referee’s interpretation. While Brecon didn’t score a single point from a penalty, Tata scored nine from three successful kicks at regular intervals which kept them in touch right through to the final whistle.  

While Brecon’s start was rather slow there was no real indication of what was to come. They crossed the line twice but were brought back for a forward pass and a foot in touch. Finally, they scored when Dion Mcintosh made a half break and found ever supporting flanker, Osian Davies, on the inside, and he claimed the opening try. McIntosh converted to open up a seven-point lead. Brecon then had an opportunity to create pressure but their touchline penalty kick didn’t find the line and Tata escaped and then benefited from the interception try.

Brecon needed to settle after the reverse and they were helped by good performances from Osian Davies, Ioan Edwards and Geraint Powell who was particularly prominent. From another penalty kick to touch Brecon showed discipline as the drove a rolling maul towards the home line and when the maul was pulled down just short of the try line, the referee had no choice but to award a penalty try.

Brecon should have been able to kick on from there but a soft penalty allowed Tata to cut the deficit before Brecon extended their lead as the half approached. The score was simple but clinical. From a scrum in the Tata 22 Brecon attacked around the fringes. Geraint Powell was dragged down just short but he delivered quick ball which was moved right to Sam Jones who crossed in the corner. McIntosh converted brilliantly off the touch line.

The second half started with Brecon facing the wind but with a 21 points to 8 advantage. However, the half didn’t start well. A silly penalty gave Tata another three points. Ten points ahead Brecon looked to extend their lead and win a bonus point but in spite of a couple of Jake Crockett breaks Brecon’s play just wasn’t accurate enough and it was Tata who scored next again from a penalty from halfway after some Brecon ill-discipline. After a long period of easily forgotten rugby Brecon finally clicked. A couple of hard drives in midfield drew the defence and then, lovely interplay between wing Sam Jones and centre Tom Richards ended with Richards running in for a try which McIntosh converted. That should have set Brecon up for a comfortable finish. However, Tata were again offered relief from an interception. A great Tom Richards chase and tackle prevented the try but Tata showed great spirit and with full back Isaac Morgan causing the Brecon defence problems, Tata deservedly scored a try in the corner.

Now with just a seven point advantage there were some anxious moments during the final minutes. A great Osian Davies turn-over helped and Brecon should have scored when, with the line at their mercy, two Brecon players collided and the ball was lost. It was with relief that Geraint Workman kicked the ball to touch at the final whistle. Brecon now have a two week break before a testing challenge when they face Dunvant and then Narberth over consecutive weekends at Parc de Pugh.

Brecon Athletic returned home from Rumney with another great 31 points to 19 victory under their belts. The constantly improving Youth team just lost out to Lampeter 19 points to 21.