1XV v Cwmbran (Away) 08 Dec 2012

16-23 Loss

Several weeks off for the Autumn Internationals Series saw Monmouth making an even slower start than usual at Cwmbran last Saturday which brought a first half deficit from which they failed to recover although they had the makings of doing so near the end if time had permitted.

Playing up a heavy sloping pitch in the first half in otherwise good conditions, it was soon apparent that the home team had a strong defence and were quick to take advantage of errors, with the first points coming from a penalty at a scrum after only two minutes of play.

Before ten minutes had passed a slightly laboured chip kick by Monmouth saw an interception and the first unconverted try of the game before Monmouth had even got into their stride, and when they did they struggled to cross the gain-line with Cwmbran quickly up to tackle, if sometimes too quick, and spoil effectively as a result.

Shrewd long kicks ahead were regularly pegging the visitors back and the next incident of note was when some good covering back of one suck kick by full back Rhys Ricketts was adjudged to have been passed forward by him to a supporting defender. His dissent brought a quick penalty for Cwmbran which they ran right across the line to the left to score in the corner. Despite the difficult kick the score advanced to 15-0 and still within 20 minutes of the start.

The Monmouth pack was holding its own however with flanker (and Player of the Month) Ollie Heath foraging well, with good support and ball carrying by his back row colleagues and charges by 2nd Row Jonno Sparey, play settled down to one of equal attrition. Hooker Matt Ricketts’ tackling as usual was exceptional but despite plugging the gaps well, one has to say Monmouth rarely looked particularly threatening at any time other than an occasional individual three-quarter run.

Ricketts was to atone for his earlier error by his eagerness about the field in defence and also by kicking a penalty not long before the half time whistle. But the half-time score of 15-3 was a fair hill to metaphorically climb even though they would have the benefits of the downward slope in the second half.

Head Coach Ian Seymour rallied his troops by calling for greater energy and street wisdom rather than adventure. A statement needed to be made straight-away.

Ricketts was the first to score in the second half with a penalty for an offside as Monmouth drove the Cwmbran scrum downhill but then a setback arose as No.8 Sam Harding was ‘yellow-carded’ for a too vigorous tackle.

Cwmbran used their one man advantage to batter the line and at first the Monmouth defence held well but after repulsing driving mauls three times it cracked and the score advanced to 20-6.

When numbers were restored, it was Monmouth who began to turn the screw and when Cwmbran in turn lost a player to ‘the bin’ for deliberately preventing play by handling a ball in an offside position, Monmouth almost immediately trundled the home pack over the line for Harding to touch down. The underfoot conditions was not helping the kickers and the try remained unconverted.

Substitutions came and went on both sides, which seemed to weaken the home scrum more than the visitors, and although Cwmbran were to widen the difference with the conversion of a soft give-away penalty in front of the sticks, the Monmouth pack responded yet again with yet another push-over try by Harding but sadly too near to the final whistle despite the extensive injury time, to do more than achieve a 23-16 result with a losing bonus point. They had the makings to do better.

Next Saturday brings yet another away game, this time at Rogerstone, in the Swalec Bowl with kick off at 2p.m.

Tries: S.Harding (2)
Pen: R.Ricketts(2)

www.monmouthrfc.com Telephone: +44 (0)1600 712309 Email: info@monmouthrfc.com copyright Monmouth RFC 2017