RGC’s unbeaten start to the season was ended by Principality Premiership leaders Aberavon in an 11 -22 defeat.
Mark Jones rued his sides start to the game “We didn’t start the game well and our discipline was poor and in turn we got on the wrong side of the referee early. As a result we failed to grasp any opportunity to gain possession and ball to get the fans behind us.
“Credit to Aberavon as they were smarter in the contact area and we failed to adapt to that, but I was disappointed we didn’t get a point that I thought we probably deserved.
“Our set piece didn’t perform to the levels we have reached in past weeks so we know what areas to work on for Swansea next week”
The visitors dominated the opening quarter as the looked to their pack to drive over, but the Gogs defence was standing strong making sure the pushed every attack away.
The pace was pretty breath-taking especially when Carwyn Ap Myrddin chased the ball down before the Wizards returned with another quick attack.
It was no surprise that the try line was broken when Aberavon worked ball well and scrum half David Pritchard touched down. Steff Williams added the extras.
RGC really hadn’t really have a chance to get into the game but after 15 minutes the finally had some ball in hand. The pack set the foundation for some good attacks with Tim Grey and Tiaan Loots making some inroads into the Aberavon defence.
Jacob Botica’s penalty kick narrowed the Wizards lead as the 1,312 had something to cheer about.
Both sides were competing with intensity at the breakdown, but the referees whistle was going in favour of the away side and RGC were being punished with some big clearing kicks from Stef Williams.
The game ebbed and flowed in attacks as both sides looked for the gaps in defence, but no yards were given from either team.
Aberavon extended the lead with a Williams penalty on the 35th minute.
Some clever play from winger Rhys Williams to keep the ball in play allowed Afon Bagshaw an opportunity to kick and chase to try and test the Wizards defence.
The referee had words with both captains for a few off the ball incidents and soon after RGC found themselves a man down when Bagshaw was shown a yellow card in the 39th minute. The full backs high tackle was one of the final acts of the half.
The 14 men of RGC started the 2nd half with real intent and they didn’t look like they were at a disadvantage when they had the ball. They went through some good phases with Carwyn Ap Myrddin and Tiaan Loots looking lively.
The crowd were on their feet when RGC’s Shaun O’Rourke sprinted down a kick ahead but he just couldn’t place a hand on the ball as it agonisingly rolled out of play.
The man advantage did come into play when the Wizards broke down the field in the 47th minute with Stef Andrews. The ball then found substitute Morgan Williams who did well to evade couple of tackles and the former RGC Academy winger scored. Extras were added by Stef Williams.
Botica had a chance with the boot but his penalty sailed wide.
The playing numbers were evened up when Bagshaw returned but a minute later the advantage swung in RGC’s favour when Chris Davies was given a yellow for high tackle.
A minute later RGC made that advantage count when they won the line-out and started the rolling maul, the pack pushed over and prop Ross Davies picked up his sides 500th try in the leagues.
The experience of Aberavon was showing as they tried to slow the game down, to make sure they kept the ball when they were down to 14 men. The used the pick and go well as the forwards recycled the ball.
Will Bryan and Tiaan Loots made a couple of big tackles which gave the Gogs some turnover ball.
RGC made some changes and teenagers Dan Owen and Ellis Roberts came on.
Botica hit another penalty to close the gap to 6 points and RGC had their tails up in attack. Bagshaw made another chase from a huge kick which caused panic in the Aberavon defence and delight in the Eirias stands.
Morgan Williams kicked a penalty chance wide as we reached the last 10 minutes.
The next score was always going to be crucial in the game and it and the game went to the visitors in the 75th minute when the sheer pace of winger Stef Andrews outran everyone to score.
To their credit the RGC players didn’t throw in the towel as they on looking for that score and a bonus point, but they couldn’t breakdown the red and black wall.
Aberavon did finish with 14 men when centre Rheon James was yellow carded for a high tackle but the game was won and his sides unbeaten run continued.
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