On a bitterly cold afternoon at the Wern these two Premiership teams served up an absolute belter of a game. Those who came along to see the game were well entertained as the lead exchanged hands on numerous occasions. In the end though a last kick of the match penalty goal by Merthyr fullback Matt Jarvis sealed the win for the current Principality Premiership Champions. There were 11 tries in the game, 6 going to the home side while Llanelli scored five, with wing threequarter Ryan Davies completing a hat trick of tries.
Billy Mcbryde opening the scoring with a well struck penalty goal but almost immediately Llanelli conceded a penalty try when referee Gwyn Morris penalised Llanelli for collapsing a maul following a five metre lineout. A couple of penalties were then exchanged by McBryde and Jarvis to keep the scoreboard ticking over in the first fifteen minutes. Then, two tries in quick succession from the Champions opening up a healthy lead. Some defensive lapses allowed the Merthyr backs to score, firstly Richard Carter and then Jarvis were on hand to finish some good threequarter handling. Jarvis slotted one conversion to open up a 22 - 6 lead going into the second quarter of the first half. Then Llanelli got in on the act themselves dominating possession and territory. Ryan Davies crossed for a well worked try, with McBryde adding the conversion and kicking a further two penalties the game was really on! At the half Merthyr 22 Llanelli 19
Llanelli continued to dominate possession and territory in the third quarter and took the lead with another couple of tries, both from Davies, the third coming from a cross field kick by outside half Ioan Hughes which was superbly taken by the winger to touch down wide out. A mistake following the restart allowed Merthyr to gain a foothold in the red zone and they took full advantage with back rower Ed Siggery to score the home sides fourth a bonus point try. Game very much on, scores locked at 29 apiece. An other attack from Llanellli saw them within five metres of the try line, the home were penalised and a quick tap and go saw scrum half Declan Smith score the visitors fourth and bonus point try, McBryde again added the extras. Into the final quarter and the lead changed hands once again, two tries on 61 & 70 minutes, I think by Rhys James and Matthew Dwyer saw the home side lead 41 - 36. Back came Llanelli, a period of good buid up play saw full back Callum Evans break through the home defence to cross under the posts, and again Billy stepped up to slot the goal. With just a two point advantage the visitors needed to control the final couple of minutes to secure what would have been a super result given all thats gone on this season, but they were penalised for holding on and that final penalty kick ended a super afternoon of rugby.
So, a lot of positives for Llanelli which they must build on going into their next fixture at home against RGC next Saturday.