Match Report: RGC 1404 34 – 26 Aberavon

RGC 1404 34 – 26 Aberavon
by WRU

Ceri Jones’ RGC side is looking up in more ways than one – taking the scalp of Aberavon in a 34-26 victory made it three wins in a row, they are now only four points off the play off places and their next three Indigo Premiership games are all at home.

Add in a Premiership Cup clash against Ebbw Vale at Parc Eirias this weekend and it is easy to see why Jones is setting his sights much higher than after a start to the season that saw the Gogs lose four of their first five fixtures.

“We now have a run of home games and it’s now all about finding that consistency. The curse of the coach is that as soon the whistle goes on a victory it’s onto the next game,” said Jones.

“We host Ebbw Vale in our net game and that offers us a chance to reach a cup semi-final.”

Jones might be craving more consistency, but his side has certainly found a way to match up to the top teams in the division. In a thrilling game in which the lead changed hands no fewer than four times, RGC refused to go away and dug deep to inflict a third successive defeat on the Wizards.

It meant Jason Hyatt’s visiting side dropped to third in the table. To add insult to injury, a late penalty from RGC outside half Dion Jones meant they failed to take even a losing bonus-point.

After six successive try bonus-point victories at the start of the season, the Wizards have lost a bit of their magic and now find themselves trailing the reigning champions, Cardiff, by six points having played an extra game. They host Steve Law’s Blue & Blacks in their next league game.

“It was good to see us deliver what we talked about during the week – physicality, kicking at the right times, chop tackles and getting over the ball,” added Jones.

“Aberavon normally come up to us and physically dominate, but I thought Bryn Jones was outstanding in the way he took on the role of aggressor and Dan Owen was a standout again as captain.

“We put ourselves under pressure in the second half, but we found a way to win. The backrow was a constant nuisance, and we really made a statement today.”

The Gogs were awarded a penalty try to open the scoring after Steff Andrews, celebrating his 200th appearance, was caught deliberately knocking on a try scoring pass. That gave the home side the lead and left the Wizards a man short after Andrews saw yellow.

Aled Thomas cut the gap with the first of his successful kicks, but back came the home side with a try from flying wing Rhys Tudor that Jones converted. Aberavon cut the gap to four points at the break after Jay Baker crossed for a try to which Thomas added the extras.

The second half was full of cut and thrust with Thomas kicking two more penalties to edge his side ahead for the first time at 16-14. Jones made it 17-16 shortly after before RGC lost Jesse Williams to the sin bin, and Aberavon immediately took advantage to grab a second try from Rhodri Cole which the scrum half also converted.

Back came the Gogs with their third try via Theo Mayell, set up by some beat approach work from the back line, and Jones’ latest conversion made it a fourth change of lead in the second half alone. Mayell then finished off a forward drive to grab his second try, with Jones once again adding the extras.

One more penalty apiece brought the scoring to an end, with Jones’ final kick taking away the bonus-point from the visitors as the home outside half ended with 12 points.

RGC 1404 34 – 26 Aberavon

Aberavon Team:
Stef Andrews; Frankie Jones, Joe Thomas, Bradley Roderick, Jay Baker (rep Chris Banfield 68 min); Aled Thomas (rep Joe Gage 59 min), Rhodri Cole (rep Liam Seaward 78 min); Rhys Fawcett (rep Jordan Walters half-time), Luke Davies (rep Jamie Cox 70 min), Geraint James (rep Chris Davies 71 min), Sam Pailor, Steffan Lewis, Joe Tomalin-Reeves (capt), Andrew Waite (rep Cerith Davies 80+2 min), Lloyd Evans.

Replacements Not Used:
Dylan Samuel.

Stef Andrews made his 200th appearance for Aberavon RFC.
Club debuts for Jamie Cox and Cerith Davies.
Steffan Lewis appeared from Tondu RFC; Liam Seaward appeared from Morriston RFC; Jamie Cox & Dylan Samuel appeared from Trebanos RFC; Cerith Davies appeared from Neath Athletic RFC.

Aberavon Scorers:
T – Jay Baker, Rhodri Cole
C – Aled Thomas, Rhodri Cole
P – Aled Thomas (3), Chris Banfield

RGC 1404 Scorers:
T – Theo Mayell (2), Penalty Try, Rhys Tudor
C – Dion Jones (3)
P – Dion Jones (2)

Mike English

Man Of The Match:
1 – Aled Thomas
2 – Rhodri Cole
3 – Andrew Waite

Time Line:
18 min: RGC – T – Penalty Try (7 – 0)
18 min: Aberavon – Yellow Card – Stef Andrews
21 min: Aberavon – PG – Aled Thomas (7 – 3)
29 min: RGC – T – Rhys Tudor & C – Dion Jones (14 – 3)
39 min: Aberavon – T – Jay Baker & C – Aled Thomas (14 – 10)
40+3 min: Half Time
48 min: Aberavon – PG – Aled Thomas (14 – 13)
53 min: Aberavon – PG – Aled Thomas (14 – 16)
56 min: RGC – PG – Dion Jones (17 – 16)
60 min: RGC – Yellow Card – Jessie Williams
63 min: Aberavon – T – Rhodri Cole & C – Rhodri Cole (17 – 23)
67 min: RGC – T – Theo Mayell & C – Dion Jones (24 – 23)
77 min: RGC – T – Theo Mayell & C – Dion Jones (31 – 23)
80+4 min: Aberavon – PG – Chris Banfield (31 – 26)
80+8 min: RGC – PG – Dion Jones (34 – 26)
80+8 min: Full Time