1XV v Cwmbran (Away) 14 Sep 2013

10-22 Loss

A visit to Cwmbran has always been challenging but Monmouth made things far more difficult than necessary whilst losing away 22-10, particularly with so many missed first up tackles on the very direct local runners and the occasional crucial poor kick to touch.

Monmouth’s pack was the slightly stronger in the scrums throughout until their strength began to dominate later in the game. The lines-out on the other hand were a bit of a lottery until they, too, settled down nearer the end.

Hectic, even frantic, opening minutes soon brought Monmouth into the Cwmbran half near enough for fly-half Rhys Rickets to gain the first points from a penalty for offside.

Cwmbran’s immediate riposte was then thwarted by a penalty against them for stamping which brought the visitors a good touch and then a 30 metre further advance through a three-quarter move up the substantial slope made possible by quick hands of centre Andrew Davies.

Cwmbran snuffed out the risk from left wing Dewi Lane and were soon making substantial inroads aided by patchy tackling saved only by play running into touch just outside the left hand corner.

Monmouth fell into a pattern of kicking upfield to relieve pressure only for Cwmbran to run the ball back with pace. When tackled eventually penalties resulted for not releasing the man in the tackle and a turning of the score from 0-3 to 6-3 with half-time looming.

Cwmbran knew when to turn the screw though and when a Monmouth back went for an interception and missed, the 50 metres gained. was relieved momentarily by the deep covering of scrum half Ludo Thomas.

Ludo Thomas making a break

Pressure from the developing well Monmouth front row resulted in a penalty at a scrum but the kick to touch was just short and Cwmbran’s excellent full back started the run back which brought an easy penalty for him in front of the posts and a 9-3 score.

Damaging enough just before the break, but worse was to come.

The same man was impeded when fielding a deep kick out and the ensuing move from the penalty led to a 70 metre move and a converted try in the left corner.

16-3 was going to be quite a second-half challenge despite the slope now being in Monmouth’s favour.

Cwmbran however were not done and it was only a knock on 10 metres from the line that spared Monmouth a further setback in the early stages.

An altercation brought the departure for ten minutes of one half back from each team as the referee tried to stamp out some of the silliness that was creeping into the game but given that it seemed to be Ricketts who had been attacked by a temperamental scrum-half it was unfortunate that Monmouth slipped a further three points behind from the penalty awarded.

Cwmbran tension was more apparent as they had words with the referee but it was Monmouth who transgressed nearest to the post for some unclear reason and it became 22-3 with still more than a quarter of the game to play.

Monmouth at last clicked and piled on the pressure but the referee with his whistle punctuating play did not seem to want to tackle big issues. High tackles went relatively unpunished and when Monmouth were camped in the bottom right hand corner, scrum after scrum went nowhere as they were either re-set or penalised. Eventually the penalty try came but only after a defender was clearly seen to dive into the side of the scrum as it was being pedalled back over the line.

At 22-10 and with 7 minutes of ordinary time left the hill had almost become a mountain to climb, but when despite their best attacking efforts, handling in the scrum and two high tackles were leniently punished, the Cwmbran defence held out and the winning league points were theirs.

Firmer refereeing and greater conformity with the new scrummaging laws may have helped but Monmouth need to construct more attacking moves and particularly beef up the side with players who tackle to be sure of some better results. In fairness though Cwmbran vigour played a large part in the defeat.

The next challenge this coming Saturday is Abertysswg who making their first visit at this level to Monmouth’s Sports Ground (k.o. 2.30p.m.).

Tries: penalty
Conv: R.Ricketts
Pen: R.Ricketts

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