Return match in the Plate set to be a tasty affair after narrow win
LLANGEFNI will be under no illusions that a tough test awaits when they host Ruthin in the second round of the WRU National Plate at Cae Smyrna this Saturday (2.30pm).
The Anglesey side were given a taste of their opponents’ credentials in beating them narrowly 19-15 in a WRU Division One North battle at home last weekend.
Seven days on comes the rematch, with this time a place in round three of the Plate the coveted prize.
Last Saturday’s league tussle was played in driving rain for the most part, so huge credit to both teams for providing good entertainment and some quality handling in the conditions.
Cefni enjoyed the majority of possession and spent far more time in the away 22 than their own. They led 14-3 after the first quarter and 14-10 at the break, but were hang- ing on for dear life at the end. Some fine long kicks into the home 22 allowed Ruthin to set up camp and come away with three points from the boot of Nathan Jones.
Llangefni were playing into the wind and therefore launched their big ball carriers into away territory.
Dion Oliver breached the away defence over and over again and fellow second row Will Bown also enjoyed regular gainline success, as the rest of the pack took the ball forward with some superb pick and goes.
It was Bown who got the first try after an excellent driving maul, Rhys Hughes converting.
The backs bought into the tight game with hard yards and half breaks from Greg Horsman, Aron Evans and Rich Foulkes the order of the day. However, it was the break by Oliver, taken on by Bown, which led to the second try scored by Tom Owen from close range, Hughes adding the extras.
When Ruthun finally got back into Cefni’ s 22, they were an immediate threat.
They spurned an easy penalty in front of the posts and opted to scrummage. Their scrum was solid and they moved the ball quickly, managing to wrong foot the home defence in the outside channel, allowing Josh Wilson to sprint over in the corner for a try, superbly converted by Nathan Jones, making it 14-10 at the turnaround.
Playing with the wind in the second half, Cefni spent the whole of the third quarter camped in the away 22. Ruthin’s defence stood strong, but the islanders had a strong case for a try when Oliver seemed to ground the ball near the left corner.
The home side finally got the third try they so richly deserved on 65 minutes when veteran prop Ian Parry grounded after another period of intense pressure.
From the restart, Cefni did not go for distance with the kick, and ended up spending most of the rest of the game defending in their 22.
The home scrum had come off second best all afternoon, so coupled with the string of penalties they conceded, there was a certain inevitability about Ruthin’s second try through Alex Pope..
Cefni fans feared the worst when the visitors had a scrum 10 metres out, but somehow the home pack mustered every last ounce of energy and refused to go into reverse.
It was too close for comfort but Llangefni deserved the win, if only for their overall domination of territory and possession.
Intense action from last Saturday’s encounter with Ruthin (blue) on the attack against Llangefni