RGC Head Coach Mark Jones watched his side battle through to the Quarter Final of the WRU National Cup against Bridgend Ravens.
“We expected a tough game and we got one. Bridgend Ravens are a good side who have had some good results recently. It was disappointing to give them that try before halftime and let them back in the game. The good thing was how we responded at halftime and we got those 2 tries. It then gave us a chance to make a few changes and perhaps that changed the game again. We have come away with the win, and it’s a good win on the road which tees us up for next week away at Aberavon”
RGC made a bright start at the Brewery Field with plenty of ball and territory but the Gogs had a few handling errors when they had worked the ball well.
Bridgend were opting to kick the ball as they looked to get behind the RGC defence but full-back Afon Bagshaw was comfortable collecting the ball and running it back into attack.
RGC opened the scoring with a penalty after 15 minutes but the home side drew level soon after with a Joseph Scrivens penalty.
The away side continued to build some phase play but the errors continued with ball in hand.
RGC claimed the first try and it came more from a Bridgend error rather than RGC play, after Jacob Botica charged down a kick and collected to ball to touchdown. The fly-half converted.
The 2nd try cam soon after when Tiaan Loot bounced off the tackles to break through the defence. Botica nudged the extras.
With the point gap RGC had a chance to control the game and try and reduce the errors but the home side were given a gift of a try. After a messy scrum Efan Jones spun a pass which was intercepted by Scriven who raced from the halfway line to score. He kicked the conversion.
The home crowd sensed their side was back in the game and the noise levels increased, and on the halftime whistle Scrivens closed the gap to 4 points with a penalty. As RGC headed into the dressing room they would have been disappointed not have been further ahead.
RGC couldn’t have asked for a better response from the players in the 2nd half. Aron Evans went close with a sprint down the line but the try came after Loots smashed through a gap to score. Botica kicked the 2 points.
Loots was involved again with another attack when he took an intercepted pass and broke away before Carwyn Ap was tackled.
Bridgend were then reduced to 14 men when O’Driscoll was given a red for a swinging arm. The man advantage was used straight away when the pack drove over and hooker Rhys Williams got the score. Botica’s boot hit the conversion.
RGC cleared the bench in the second half, which saw Josh Leach join the pack, Cam Davies play scrum-half and Alex Schwarz take on the fly-half role.
The home side were working hard in defence making sure RGC couldn’t find any space, which was working.
It was a case of defence into attack when the Ravens used a kick and chase which nearly ended up with a try, but the referee pulled play back for a knock on.
RGC suffered the same fate after a great break and passing move before Loots try was cancelled for a forward pass.
Pressure was growing on the away side and it was no surprise when they try came from Bridgend Ravens. After being camped in the RGC 22 line Jonny Kenny got over to get the touch down. Scrivens kicked the conversion.
In the first half the centre combination of Hughes and Loots were making the darts in attack and as the game went on they were racking up the tackles in defence.
Credit to the home side as they didn’t drop the intensity and a few RGC supporters were having a nervous glance at the scoreboard.
The game was still in RGC’s favour but the player numbers were levelled when Captain Maredydd Francis was yellowed in the 70mins.
The remaining 10 minutes was pretty much played in RGC’s half with Bridgend Ravens throwing everything at the Gogs defensive line. In turn RGC threw everything in defence to make sure that line wasn’t broken and when the full time whistle went there was a sense of relief and exhaustion from the RGC players and staff.
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