1XV v RTB Ebbw Vale (away) 03 Oct 2015

23-6 Win

Monmouth Post First Win Of Season

In gorgeous weather, Monmouth ran the kick off back to RTB’s disquiet and following a stirring start only the ball being lost in a tackle prevented them from getting points on the board.

RTB‘s young lively backs looked to be their strength as their forwards struggled in the set pieces against a heavier and more experienced pack. Not that they were plain sailing because a rather punctilious referee made ample use of his whistle as he tried to assert himself and later in the first half had the Monmouth supporters wondering if he wasn’t trying to compensate for RTB’s lack of close-quarters ‘nous’.

Monmouth were playing with more ‘shape’ than usual largely due to the presence of Andrew Davies, their Head Coach, at fly-half, whose checking back inside during a move along the line led to a ruck and when he received the ball again, calmly dropped a goal to open the scoring after only ten minutes.

The home team were lively in the loose though and twice in succession were able to turn over the ball twice in quick succession gaining large territorial gains as a result. With Monmouth now doggedly defending a penalty to RTB resulted for an offside error which they easily converted to level the score inside the first quarter.

Monmouth were playing to their strengths and following a 25 metre driving maul gained a penalty for trying to drag it down but the penalty faded right from 22m out from the left.

Eventually RTB were to succumb when another drive neared their line and No 8 Phillips eventually took three attempted tacklers over for an unconverted try.

Some advantage was now being lost as the referee deemed some of the dominating aspects of scrums to be illegal although others watching felt it was more to do to the inability of their younger opponents to take the scrummaging pressure.

At last it looked like another break through when Monmouth ran well for a score only to be penalised for ‘holding on’ when the ‘scorer’ had mistakenly dived for the wrong line.

RTB’s fitness now showed as they remained camped in the visitors’ 22 for the last 5 minutes of the half welcoming the interval whistle when it came.

The lengthy breather as RTB retired to their new changing rooms revived older legs enough to take play right back to RTB in the first minute along the line to the lively left wing who, when stopped, saw play carried by supporting forwards with prop Hunter claiming the first score of the half. Centre Wilding having now assumed the kicking duties added the conversion to stretch the lead to 3-15.

RTB responded in kind taking advantage of a penalty against a Monmouth back for ‘holding on’ after a tackle. From a kick to the corner they won the line-out and spread the ball wide but were held out repeatedly by Monmouth until, with no advantage having been gained, they came back to convert an earlier penalty for offside.

Monmouth kept their cool though and after Monmouth in turn stretched the home defence first right, then left, then right again when, fittingly, fly half Davies spotted a gap which he went through untouched although Wilding’s attempted kick failed.

A yellow card for allegedly coming in to a maul on the side lifted RTB’s spirits briefly but when they in turn were penalised for a tackle offence the loud applause from the supporting visitors showed their views about the balance of penalties being awarded.

RTB pressed hard nearing the Monmouth line on a few occasions but the visitors defended their 14 point lead with determination. Substitute Oaten showed his upper body strength with the way he was able to rip out balls held in mauls and the carries he was able to perform until his lack of fitness began to show and his pace declined. Flanker Korb who had excelled about the field departed for a blood injury and veteran 2nd Row Copley returned to make a try saving tackle as play went into a lengthy overtime.

Monmouth had a penalty as they felt the final whistle approaching and Gordon a further substitute used his goal-kicking abilities well to comfortably add a lengthy penalty for a final score of 6-23. With hindsight a kick to the corner could have led to a 4th try and a bonus point given the extended the referee played but many an International result has turned on such decisions, too!

Tries: N.Phillips, L.Hunter, A.Davies
Conv: G.Wilding
Pen: K.Gordon
Drop Goal: A.Davies

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