RGC 25 Merthyr 24
RGC won in dramatic style with a last kick penalty to beat Merthyr in the Principality Premiership.
This was the 1st game of the Tier 1 league, and Head Coach Mark Jones saw his side turn the result around with the 2nd half performance “We didn’t perform in the opening 40 minutes, failed to keep the ball and didn’t take the chances. We tightened up in all aspects in that 2nd half and attacked the space to take the tries. It was far from perfect but I think we kept our discipline which made the difference in regards to the yellow cards in a fiery game of rugby”
The game opened in lively fashion with a scuffle in the opening seconds and that set the tone for the early part of the game. Merthyr Centre Aaron Pincers was then given a yellow card minutes later after a tackle on Tiaan Loots.
RGC centre Loots was the danger man with a number of powerful runs at the visitors defence, and the visitors were doing there upmost to stop him. It was after another break from Loots that led to the game first yellow and it was Pincers who was sent to the sin-bin after a high tackle.
The Gogs had the man advantage put couldn’t make it count points-wise. The Eirias side were having more of the ball, but the Merthyr defence was standing tall.
Alarm bells were rung when the Ironmen broke down the wing before Lee Jarvis was put into touch. The intensity of the opening 10 minutes lowered but it was RGC that got on the board first with a Jacob Botica penalty. Jarvis did the same minutes later for Merthyr to level the score.
It was becoming an arm wrestle at the breakdown as both sides competed as the tackles came in.
For the first time in the game Merthyr built some phases and edged up the field, and it gave that man Pincers the opportunity to break the defence to score the try. Jarvis kicked the conversion.
The frustration continued for RGC when Joe Simpson was yellowed and the score and man advantage was now in the visitors favour. If that was bad enough then the try just before halftime added to the Gogs problems. A kick and chase, combined with RGC failing to get hold of the ball or the ball carriers led to Tom Daley crossing the whitewash and Jarvis extended the lead to 14 points.
What followed in the 2nd half was full on attacking rugby with RGC and especially winger Rhys Williams having an inspired game with ball in hand.
Botica had a chance with a penalty but it dropped short, before Merthyr picked up try number 3 from Nathan Trevett with the boot of Jarvis hitting the conversion.
Following the touchdown tempers flared and emotions spilled over on both sides, with Merthyr receiving another yellow card.
RGC took full advantage and when the maul rumbled over the line Rhys Williams came up with the ball and the try. Botica converted.
Jarvis had an opportunity to extend the lead but missed his penalty kick.
With the extra man the space was being found and the game swung when Rhys Williams took the ball, kept his head down and crashed through the tackles to go in next to the posts. A simple conversion from Botica and RGC knew they were back in the game.
Rhys Williams was driving his side on and he helped to set up another RGC try after his break down the wing led to Alex Schwarz taking the pass but being held up on the line, but Loots was in support and he touched down. Botica missed the conversion with score at 22-24 to Merthyr.
Merthyr’s discipline was letting them down and Martyn Thomas was yellowed right after the RGC try.
The Eirias crowd sensed something special and the noise levels were notched up a few levels in the final 10 minutes.
It went quiet when Jarvis stepped up for the penalty but when the ball hit the post and the chance was gone.
Bagshaw and Williams combination was causing more problems for the visitors as the once again attacked with power and pace and after a well worked move it looked like Aron Evans would score but the winger spilled the ball.
As the clock ticked on Botica took the option of a penalty kick from 40 yards out but like his opposition counterpart couldn’t hit it over the posts.
Many thought the chance of a victory had gone, but RGC were awarded another penalty in the 80th minute and Botica stepped up for a huge kick both in distance and importance. The ball hit the upright and nudged over to send Eirias into raptures.
RGC have put a marker down for the remaining 6 games of the Principality Premiership, and have added another memorable result to the history books.
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