1XV v Chepstow (home) 17 Feb 2018

54-13 Win

Comfortable win for Monmouth

With the layoff due to the 6 Nations Internationals showing in early rustiness, Monmouth were three points down to a 35 metre penalty to bottom of the league Chepstow from the very first ruck of the game in what was to be a curious game of ups and downs despite the final points difference.

Within five minutes, the dominance of the visitors' pack was apparent when they eventually scored a converted pushover try to take the lead. Strangely the referee then soon awarded a penalty in favour of the home team for a front row infringement which seemed unlikely for a pack so dominant at this stage, but the kick-able opportunity from the 10 metre line was pulled badly.

This did not deter the young Chepstow players who made good ground admittedly aided by some missed tackles and rather high attempts to slow them down when on the rampage led most by their one particularly mobile prop.

Eventually the Monmouth back line clicked with a deep centre break to 4 metres from the line which supporting full back Nove was on hand to complete under the posts.

At 3-14, one might think things were already looking promising for the visitors, but a knock on from the kick off and soon a yellow card for an over vigorous tackle gave Chepstow the encouragement they needed when their scrum half burst through almost untouched from a scrum near the right corner.

Despite strong runs by Nove and No8 Hawkins in return, an over–elaborate passing attempt led to a loss of 40 metres territory redeemed only by a very deep kick to touch following a turnover. But this promising position was soon frittered away with Hawkins receiving a warning for impeding a player without the ball.

Luckily Nove has returned to form following a period of injury and he took on a move with a strong midfield break with the ball moving neatly to the left wing who added another five points just before the half-time break.

After a stern talking to by the coach and with the downhill slope in their favour, Hellard soon showed the way nearly scoring but with captain and prop Zen following up the score advanced to 8-26 with a 4 tries bonus point, too.

Not to be outdone the home team full back was soon counter-attacking very effectively gaining considerable ground complemented by his forwards putting together a maul which ground its way over but too far out to kick.

Hellard made excellent ground following this, ignoring as he could a large overlap to score a converted try near the posts and Nove nearly did the same straight after with a clever chip down the line behind the defence but his fly hack was just too long to prevent a defender grounding it over the line first.

The Chepstow pack was now struggling somewhat and scrums went passive whilst the visitors substantially changed their team with large-scale substitutions.

Eagerness was now abundant with some difficult passes juggled by the receivers hampering play, but when Green was fed in mid-field he recovered his own juggling act and after two quick rucks, Hellard was on hand again to score his third try and this before the fourth quarter commenced.

Play was far more fluid now with good attacking inter-passing. A near try by Parsons was avoided by forcing him into touch and then further clever passing to the right saw Nove about to score when he magnanimously handed the ball to Ridgway as a thank you for his supporting efforts.

With the score now 13-47 and the visitors eager to see the 50 mark passed, play became ragged as players tried too hard and Chepstow dug deeper for reasons of pride. Frustrations boiled over with several skirmishes and then a second yellow card for alleged improper use of the boot put further Monmouth advancement at risk.

Play went to and fro until flanker Rees took a difficult pass. Play flowed on to the right via Green for Parsons to take them past the half century just before the final whistle for the only partly convincing 13-54 win.

Newport HSOB will undoubtedly pose a tougher challenge on 3 March after yet another break for an International, but some of Saturday's best play should see them triumphant if sustained more consistently.

www.monmouthrfc.com Telephone: +44 (0)1600 712309 Email: info@monmouthrfc.com copyright Monmouth RFC 2018