by Nathan Parker
THE University of South Wales 4th claimed a significant 15-7 victory over rivals Swansea University 5th to go within a point of leaders Bath.
The game didn’t start well for the away side with fly-half Callum Kerr kicking the ball straight out of play from the kick off before knocking on close to the USW line inside the first three minutes.
Even with Swansea controlling the early proceedings, the away side’s scrum wasn’t able to pull up any trees with USW earning their first penalty of the game 40 metres from the Swansea try-line.
The home team opted to go for touch where the impressive William James slapped the ball back to flanker Cam Howells Ripley who grappled with three defenders before scoring the first try of the match.
Fullback Chris Chickwanah added the extras to give the home side the perfect start in atrocious conditions.
The weather didn’t deter the home side from playing an expansive game though with USW’s Lloyd Shelby and Gareth Pugh creating gaps in the Swansea defence. With USW on top, the pressure told seconds before the half-time whistle.
After the referee had given the home side their 12th penalty of the first half, USW captain Connor Michael elected to go for a scrum 10 metres from the Swansea try-line. A huge drive from the forwards ended up with second-row James getting his name on the scoreboard giving the home side a 12-0 lead at half-time.
The second-half was mainly dominated by the referees whistle with the man in the middle giving out a total of 31 penalties during the match. But, Swansea managed to get a foothold in the game 55 minutes into the encounter.
After exerted pressure and great footwork from Swansea’s Dan Howard, loose-head prop Morgan Poel managed to pick up from the base of the ruck and score his side’s first points of the game.
With just five points between the two sides USW coach Paul Hicks ran the changes with substitute Ben Simmonds making an immediate impact. After the referee penalised Swansea for hands in the ruck, Simmonds stepped and slotted over a penalty goal to give his side a 15-7 lead.
Simmonds’ kick delivered the final points of the game with Swansea’s pressure in the final 20 minutes coming to nothing. The University of South Wales remain second and will go into the Christmas breaks with high hopes going into their next game in January.
Star Player: William James