1XV v Cwmbran (away) 18 Apr 2015

0-47 Loss

Lesson for Monmouth

Since the first week in January when Cwmbran previously opposed and comfortably beat Monmouth, their forward and running strengths have increased so much that with a weakened side against them and a very tolerant referee as far as off-side was concerned, by half time it was clear a hiding was on the cards.

Monmouth, to their credit, stuck at their task but their insistence on trying to tackle high and pass erratically brought seven tries against them and none of their own. In fact if some of the Monmouth forwards, and if Rees and Griffiths in particular, had not covered so well, making up for the deficiencies of some of their team-mates, the loss would have been much greater.

From the off Cwmbran drove deep into the Monmouth half but the visitors regained their composure and through carrying well were in position to gain the lead but the first kick at goal was hooked.

Prop Tom Green is showing what he can do now that fitness levels of some is improving and his carrying made many metres for Monmouth but often ended up turned over for lack of support.

Cwmbran quickly learned to play the referee with persistent off-sides and killing of the ball going maybe unseen and certainly unpunished. Worse still, when occasionally penalised, even in ‘the red zone’ the worst additional threat was another final warning.

Despite a wobbly defence throughout, it must have been more resolute in the first half as only twice was their line breached with confident conversions of both tries, and pride ensured a rally by Monmouth on each occasion but little decisive penetration.

The break brought changes in personnel for those who had succumbed to old injuries being exacerbated on a dry pitch and the fierceness of the contest and Monmouth started off well with some neat passing and, after a ruck, a flat kick deep along the touch-line which bounced conveniently into touch as Cwmbran covered back.

Ed McCord, a replacement flanker for Griffiths, charged prominently from the start and one such incursion led to an elusive jinking run by fly-half White, but again lack of support brought a penalty for holding on.

The home team took play back down-field with Rees tackling his heart out, but after a succession of rucks, again weak tackling brought a further seven points in just as many minutes of the half.

After the kick off Monmouth latched onto the ball after a tackle for a possible turn-over but the time afforded the defence to hold on allowed them to not only clear their lines but to score in the far left corner with what seemed at that distance to be a late forward pass. 28-0 and still 27 minutes left to play!

Defending again around their 22, Monmouth executed an excellent steal but a poor pass out led to an even wilder high kick into mid-field from which the ensuing counter-attacker was roundly lifted off his feet and the tackler received a yellow card for his troubles.

The thinned defence was stretched beyond almost immediately with a further score in the corner which the otherwise impeccable goal-kicker missed.
Monmouth, showing commendable resilience took play back into their opponents’ half to gain a penalty which when quickly taken was thwarted illegally again but such persistent offending continued for a while yet before eventually the yellow card reappeared to punish Cwmbran

Monmouth piled in up to the line and virtually over but rebuffed they recycled the ball and spread it wide only for it to be knocked on by the outside centre as a consolation score beckoned.

Some good cover defence gave Monmouth chances in the later stages as did two belated further yellow cards for foul play by Cwmbran but the desire to attack from deep rather than kick first for position, led to many individual efforts being snuffed out inside their own half and an eventual score against of 47-0 from Cwmbran strong counter-attacking.

The final game beckons next week at home against New Tredegar but the focus needs to be on next season now when training and increasing maturity and skills of the younger players should lead to a better season.

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