what the papers say...courtesy of the South Wales Evening Post
LLANELLI found themselves on the wrong end of a different sort of Triple Crown at the weekend — they have now lost to Cross Keys three times this season.
And there was obviously hurt in the Parc y Scarlets camp after this narrow lunchtime defeat on Saturday.
It might not have been as comprehensive as their 32-8 hammering in the British & Irish Cup quarter-final at Pandy Park, but it was just as tough to swallow for a side knocked out of the Swalec Cup the previous weekend.
The match went ahead in bright sunshine but Llanelli played as if they were performing in wind and rain. And they were not helped by the fact that usually reliable full-back Diggy Bird missed three penalties and a conversion. Not for the first time this season they were undone by talented young fly-half Steffan Jones, who scored all his side's points.
There was a Llanelli comeback in the second half after they had trailed 13-0 but it was just too little too late.
"Cross Keys have now beaten us three times this season. We have to take it on the chin but it hurts," admitted Llanelli head of rugby Anthony Buchanan.
"We gave a lot of effort, but it's just execution on our moves that really let us down. We have got to look at ourselves and realise that this is not good enough if we have any aspirations of reaching the Premiership play-offs.
"We have to front up. We have got to play Tonmawr, they are struggling this season but they beat Swansea recently so we will have to prepare well for that contest. We are bitterly disappointed. Keys brought a very committed attitude and we couldn't deal with that. We have just got to get better."
There was nothing much between the sides in the first half with Keys leading 3-0 at the interval with a Jones penalty.
Llanelli did have plenty of possession in what was a revenge mission, but they spilt too much ball.
The best chance of a try came in the opening exchanges of the second half when loose-head prop Rhys Thomas appeared to have finished off a sweeping Llanelli move but knocked on by the line.
But following a Keys counter-attack, Jones doubled the lead after Llanelli had been caught offside.
The game had often been bad-tempered and after a fight, referee Sean Brickell had no choice but to send Keys captain Rob Nash and Llanelli flanker Matt Gilbert to the bin.
Jones continued his good form by scoring the game's first try, breaking through and going under the posts as the Pandy Park outfit led 13-0 on the hour.
But Llanelli hit back with two tries, one from a drive from a line-out through flanker Gilbert and the second a flowing move finished by replacement wing Bowdy Davies.
Llanelli : Tries: M. Gilbert, B. Davies. Con: D. Bird.
Team : D. Bird; R. Bayliss (J. Lewis 60), N. Reynolds, D. Morgan, S. Andrews (B. Davies 46); O. Williams, J. Heatley (J. James 50); R. Thomas, C. Hawkins, A. Hopkins (S. Gardiner 65), Adam Powell (capt), J. Galley (Allan Powell 56), M. Gilbert, E. Price (C. Price 68), D. Eager.
Cross Keys : Try: S. Jones. Pens: S. Jones (2). Con: S. Jones.
Team : G. David; K. Baller, L. Andrews (N. Williams 68), P. Williams, N. Trowbridge; S. Jones, R. Dyer; R. Cornock (I. George 65), G. Price (I. Dobbs 80), M. Jones, D. Hodge, T. Lampard (L. Rawlins 56), M. Popham (R. Peebles 56), R. Williams, R. Nash (capt).
Referee : Sean Brickell (WRU).