1XV v Rhymney (home) 21 Feb 2015

20-16 Win

Monmouth Win – Just

A visit from bottom of the table Rhymney boded well for a win by Monmouth having won convincingly away earlier in the season, and the opening stages soon appeared to confirm this.

Despite playing into a blinding sun and with an excellent kicking fly-half in the Rhymney ranks, it was Monmouth who had the best of the first 20 minutes with a dominating pack and vigorous back row and half backs.

So much so that Rhymney were soon questioning the referee’s decisions, conceding ground for dissent, and when their front row came up under pressure in a scrum, three points from the boot of full back Tabb.

Maintaining this early pressure, scrum half White made a scintillating break only to be tackled over the line with the two defenders managing to hold up the ball, but luck deserted them on the next play when the home pack drove the visitors back to their line, No 8 Griffiths fed to the right where Tabb was on hand to dot the ball down.

Although his attempted conversion failed, from the deep and high re-start, the ball was worked back up-field with Griffiths prominent in the move personally gaining some 30 metres. A succession of rucks on the left led to the ball moving right only for Rhymney to hold up the ball again.

The scrum that ensued brought a crushing drive from the home pack which trundled the visitors over for a second unconverted try and a 13-0 lead.

Rhymney’s deep kick to re-start was nearly taken by their right wing who was well placed to run on in but Monmouth were able to breath again even though Rhymney were now camped in their 22. White tried to break away but whilst held in a choke tackle the visiting open-side flanker stole the ball from him and set his three-quarters attacking but the home line was saved by a knock-on.

Not fazed by this they attacked again and when fly-half Ricketts stopped a move with a strong tackle he paid the penalty of ten minutes ‘in the bin’ for unceremoniously tipping up and not adequately controlling his opponent’s fall and Rhymney used the opportunity to open their scoring.

Monmouth saw the danger and despite being a man down, they heaped the pressure on again. A penalty for offside at a ruck was nearly kicked by Tabb and more dissent by the visitors helped to keep them contained in their half. With half-time now approaching Monmouth put together a good move which sadly culminated in a wild high pass to left wing Connors which lost him the impetus that could have led to another try.

A rejuvenated Rhymney after the break aided by a tactical substitution which brought on passive scrummaging immediately began to change the course of things. No longer could the home pack dominate and drive with play now far more equal with both sides alternately gaining territory and then losing it more by handling errors than resolute defences until the opposing numbers 10 and 7 neatly combined to create a break which resulted in a try out towards the right hand touch-line.

With confidence growing Rhymney were now running the ball back and fore along their back line and with an overlap of 3 to 2 on the left Monmouth’s drift defence was wrong-footed when they over-ran the winger as he cut back cut back inside to score. The kick was pulled slightly left tying the scores at 13-13.

A hint of panic was creeping in and Monmouth cracked first conceding a penalty and the lead with a relatively easy kick at goal but then bounced back driving down-field only for a kick to the wing finding touch rather than a waiting scorer.

And then several winning rucks later resulted in centre Dewi Lane breaking tackles in mid-field to score under the posts giving Ricketts an easy conversion to take the lead to 20-16. A penalty from the re-start for even more dissent could have helped ease the pressure if kicked for touch or position but a scrum meant it was some time before they could pressurise the line again.

The remaining 8 minutes or so were incredibly tense as players gave their all but it was Monmouth who visibly breathed a sigh of relief as the final whistle sounded.

RTB Ebbw Vale are this coming Saturday’s away challenge with currently no bets on the outcome.

Tries: M.Tabb, ???, D.Lane
Conv: R.Ricketts
Pen: M.Tabb

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