1XV v Fleur De Lys (home) 16 Dec 2017

54-12 Win

Sweet revenge for Monmouth

If ever revenge was sweet, Monmouth’s 54-12 bonus point win over visitors Fleur de Lys last Saturday on Chippenham made up for their one point loss in the first game of the season - their only defeat to date in this campaign.

The first set piece of the game showcased the strength of the Monmouth pack and this together with the return from college of scrum-half Davies with his electric pace complementing this set the scene for a good day for the home team.

Following a Davies break and three drives, the ball was spun left for wing White to cross for the first try comfortably converted by fly half Emanuelli and raucously celebrated by the new sound system sensitively(?) operated by Dick McLennan.

The absence of games of late seemed to encourage players rather than hinder them and the early display of quick passing, comprehensive support and clever offloads were almost mesmerising.

A strong run by flanker Rhys Davies promised much but when smashed into touch by the cover defence, Emanuelli was next to make ground, drawing the defence well and setting right wing Tabb away to wrong foot the defence to score in the right hand corner.

Hawkins who looked athletic at No. 8 drove up next, feeding his scrum half to outpace the defence over 40 metres for Emanuelli to convert again and make it 21-0 inside the first quarter.

Still with great enthusiasm and pressure but perhaps a little less precision, Monmouth were in the ascendancy until a few forced passes one of which was dropped led to a breakaway by the visitors to score at the other end.

The 21-5 score-line temporarily gave Fleur de Lys encouragement and they were noticeably more lively for a while and, despite a breakaway try by White over a long distance stretching things to 28-5, kept Monmouth on the defensive for the final minutes of the first half. During this time with an obvious determination not to concede another try, Captain Zen was seen cover tackling beyond that traditionally required of props and Tabb playing his part in stopping the larger of the visitors in his tracks whilst also laying him low for a while, too.

Play was restored to normal though when Emanuelli was back to mark a high kick into the 22 as well as take the kick quickly to set centre Paley away for a 50 metre run only for his cross-kick in-field to come to nought.

The break did little to improve Fleur de Lys prospects because within two minutes of the re-start White and Davies (Max) combined to put White over under the posts to take the lead to 30 points and with the scrum as strong as ever with the back row members all complementing each other well.

Substitutions and the increasing cold led to some slight setbacks with newcomers perhaps trying too hard. From a quick ruck an opportunity with a four on three overlap went begging with a knock on.

Play continued to Monmouth’s advantage with a move to the left and then the right. With Amosa Nove resuming from injury via the bench, his class showed and despite men spare was able to power over to score. The conversion failed.

Fleur were still battling though and after several driving mauls assisted by a penalty for defensive illegality they stuck to their task whilst ignoring a considerable overlap to crawl back by 7 points to 40-12 with still 20 minutes to play.

The re-start was however kicked direct to touch and it was good to see the two replacement front-rowers leading a drive almost over the line but finding the ever supportive Nove on hand to complete the score.

The referee now seemed intent on not letting play flow as if, it seemed, to forestall the prospect of a 50 point win.

The visitors were encouraged by this and having moved to passive scrummaging earlier were now a more equal match but Monmouth were not to be outdone.

As the scoreboard clicked towards full-time, the now fly half White set his wing clear and ‘JJ’ Thomas did not disappoint. His sheer pace outflanked the covering defence, rounding to the posts making the final kick easy for Tabb for a comprehensive 54-12 victory.

Saturday next is due to be the fifth round of The Bowl against Newtown at home but some doubt exists that they will be able to field a team so close to Christmas. Whilst Cup games take priority, Chepstow, hopefully will take their place if necessary in an attempt to reduce the growing fixtures backlog. Either way, there should be a game at home from 2p.m. or so.

Tries: D.White (3), M.Tabb, M.Davies, A.Nove (2), JJ.Thomas
Conv: P.Emanuelli (6), M.Tabb

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