by Jamil Bin-Salih & Ben Jones
A BATTLING USW performance ended in defeat as Hartpury made it seven straight wins with a 44-22 victory over South Wales.
The first points of the game came the home side’s way as a USW scrum resulted in Hartpury regaining possession, a break and pass inside was then finished under the posts, and converted.
Hartpury added a penalty moments later. Hartpury’s speed was causing USW problems, and mid-way through the first half an exchange of passes and a delicate chip through USW’s defence lead to an onrushing Hartpury back touching down to extend the hosts’ lead. The conversion was made once more.
Later in the half, USW had a scrum and another penalty was given against the visitors. This gave the Hartpury kicker a chance to add three more points to their tally, a chance he took gleefully, splitting the uprights to make it 20-0.
With half-time moments away, USW took the chance to show some of their attacking talent.
A clever sequence of play set up Cobi Flowers in the corner who touched down with ease. The try positioning left a tough conversion for Cavan Slade who dragged his kick wide, the score stood at 20-5 at the break.
USW started the second half brightly, scoring a try on the 47-minute mark thanks to Tom Stacey’s lung-busting drive. Slade successfully converted, with the score now standing at 20-12 to Hartpury.
USW continued to claw back the deficit, Slade converted a penalty in the 51st minute to reduce it to 20-15.
However, five minutes later, Hartpury regained the initiative with a well-worked breakaway try. The resulting conversion was a successful one and the score line read 27-15 with just over 20 minutes to play.
Seven minutes later, Hartpury reached the 30-point mark after converting a penalty to make the score 30-15.
In the 64th minute, the visitors handed themselves a lifeline when Cobi Flowers brilliantly intercepted a Hartpury pass and sped through to score USW’s third try of the evening. Slade again converted to make it 30-22.
The remainder of the game, however, belonged to the home side. They scored two tries in a frantic eight-minute spell, converting both to make it a 44-22 victory.
Post-match, USW Head of Rugby Ben Daniels reflected on the game: “We’re a little bit deflated, I don’t think the score reflected the game. It’s two losses on the bounce for us now so we must bounce back.”
Daniels also gave his thoughts on the crunch match against Bath University next week: “We’ll go there and try to get things back on track with a win. It’ll be tough but hopefully with one or two players coming back from injuries, we can go there and get a win.”