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Wales On Sunday - - PREMIERSHIP RUGBY -

B ATTLING Bar­goed made Merthyr fight for ev­ery inch and ev­ery point, but it was the cham­pi­ons who emerged with an­other full-house as they scored six tries.

The home side, fight­ing for sur­vival in the Prin­ci­pal­ity Premier­ship, got off to the worse pos­si­ble of starts as they failed to send the kick-off the re­quired 10 me­tres and they found them­selves be­ing shunted back at the en­su­ing scrum.

Merthyr flexed their mus­cles and af­ter kick­ing to the cor­ner they worked prop Louis Jones over from close range for the first of their tries af­ter only four min­utes. Matt Jarvis failed to con­vert that one, but the full back was bang on tar­get seven min­utes later af­ter wing Josh Martin had just found the line.

Up to that point the home side had sat back and let their il­lus­tri­ous vis­i­tors dic­tate pro­ceed­ings. They were off the pace and lack­ing in phys­i­cal­ity, but that all changed mid­way through the first half.

They gained con­fi­dence af­ter fi­nally go­ing through a few phases and when Josh Prosser con­verted a 23rd minute penalty you could see the con­fi­dence flow­ing into the home side. Now it was an even phys­i­cal bat­tle with the out­stand­ing Bar­goed back row duo of Adam Pow­ell and Ben Fry rel­ish­ing the close quar­ter con­tact work.

Merthyr lock Paddy McBride crossed from a ruck on the home line to notch his side’s third try, which Jarvis duly im­proved, but there was a great re­sponse from Bar­goed just be­fore the break when pow­er­ful wing Ash­ley Nor­ton came in off the flank on a scis­sors move be­fore barg­ing past two Merthyr de­fend­ers to score.

Prosser’s con­ver­sion cut the gap to seven points at the break and the cham­pi­ons knew they had a chal­lenge on their hands. They reverted to the power game at the start of the sec­ond half and it paid div­i­dends as scrum half Justin James rode on the back of a driv­ing line-out to cross for the bonus point try six min­utes af­ter the re-start.

An­other driv­ing line-out move paved the way for flanker Jack Perkins to power over from a me­tre out and two more Jarvis con­ver­sions made it 31-10. But Bar­goed were done just yet.

They brought old heads Grant Rogers, Rhys Mor­gan and Geraint Ed­munds and gave the Iron­men a dose of their own medicine with some real grunt up front. Hav­ing to­tally de­stroyed one Merthyr scrum to earn a penalty that got the crowd roar­ing their ap­proval, they then picked up a push-over try for No 8 Pow­ell.

Prosser added the ex­tras to cut the gap to 14 points as the game moved into the fi­nal quar­ter. Now it was a much more even con­test and Merthyr were forced to de­fend strongly to pre­vent their hosts from adding to their tally.

In the end, there was still one more try to come from the cham­pi­ons as they worked re­place­ment wing Adam Hoskins over in the right cor­ner four min­utes from time. Jarvis landed his fourth con­ver­sion of the af­ter­noon and Merthyr were home and dry.

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