CHIEF REVELS IN A SHOW OF CHAR­AC­TER

Llanelli Star - - PRINCIPALI­TY PREMIERSHI­P -

DALE McIntosh was full of praise for the char­ac­ter shown by his Merthyr play­ers as they bounced back from their cup fi­nal de­feat with a six-try thrash­ing of Car­marthen Quins.

The Iron­men will be crowned cham­pi­ons if they beat RGC on Fri­day.

A brace of tries from wing Teri Mor­gan Gee, plus scores from Ben Murphy, Craig Locke, a penalty try and Adam Hoskins, set them on course, while Matthew Jarvis kicked eight points.

“It’s been a tough week,” ad­mit­ted McIntosh. “We were down and were bleed­ing af­ter los­ing to Cardiff in the cup fi­nal.

“Car­marthen is a tough place to come but we got the win.

“It was huge to get back on the horse af­ter the cup dis­ap­point­ment. It doesn’t get any eas­ier be­cause RGC can beat any­one on their day.

“They’re a very tough side to break down and they’re very fit. We need an­other big per­for­mance from our boys if we are to win the Premier­ship next week­end.”

Car­marthen Quins made the per­fect start with pow­er­ful in­side cen­tre Josh Batcup mak­ing an in­ci­sive break, his off­load putting for­mer Scar­lets man Nic Reynolds over for the game’s open­ing try.

But Merthyr weath­ered the storm and be­gan to build some pres­sure of their own, with wing Gee’s foot just brush­ing the touch­line to deny the Iron­men an open­ing score.

But they didn’t have to wait long to cross the white­wash as their for­wards pro­ceeded to lay siege to the Quins’ line.

De­spite some valiant de­fence from Quins, pow­er­ful lock Ben Murphy even­tu­ally pow­ered over the line from close range. Merthyr’s sec­ond try was a cracker, with Jarvis slic­ing open the home de­fence as he charged to­wards the 22.

The full-back off­loaded to Gee, who turned in­side be­fore show­ing real pace to give Merthyr the lead.

Car­marthen’s early mo­men­tum had evap­o­rated as Merthyr’s heav­ier pack be­gan to gain the up­per hand.

The Iron­men’s ball car­ri­ers were get­ting over the gain-line with ease and af­ter tight-head prop Louis Jones was ini­tially held up over the line, ex­pe­ri­enced cap­tain Locke made amends as he mus­cled over.

And Merthyr se­cured the try bonus point on the stroke of half-time when a loose kick from Quins out­side-half Jac Wil­son was gath­ered by Gee, who ran in un­op­posed from 40 me­tres to give his side a 28-7 lead at the in­ter­val.

The hosts re­fused to throw the towel in dur­ing the sec­ond half and scored the first try when for­mer Wales Un­der-20s full-back Ford made a crack­ing break be­fore of­fload­ing to Reynolds, who touched down for his sec­ond try.

But in sim­i­lar fash­ion to the first half, Merthyr’s pack took con­trol, with Locke held up over the line af­ter a pow­er­ful driv­ing line-out. The Quins couldn’t stop their sec­ond surge, with the ref­eree hav­ing no choice but to award a penalty try af­ter the hosts had il­le­gally brought down a driv­ing maul.

Quins crossed for their third try, with right wing Mor­gans touch­ing down af­ter some neat han­dling by his in­side backs. But when­ever Quins got on the front foot, Merthyr went through the gears and so it proved again when re­place­ment scrum-half Hoskins burst clear to score from 35 me­tres.

Nic Reynolds crossed twice for Car­marthen Quins.

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