CARDIFF MET 20 NEATH 16
Neath sunk to their third successive defeat but, unlike the previous week, can have few complaints as Cardiff Met were much the better side and overall the Blacks did well to emerge with a bonus point.
Injuries forced the coaches’ hand somewhat in selection with skipper Aaron Bramwell taking up the centre position after rising from his ‘flu bed which prevented him from training this week.
The rains abated and the Blacks were quicker into their stride and took the lead after Rhys Morgan’s line-out take saw the ball transferred across the three-quarter line and winger Luke Griffiths sped to the corner before converting superbly from the right touchline.
It did not take Cardiff Met long to level though and a careless Neath pass in midfield was picked off and speedy wing Jack Silvester flew to the posts and outside-half James Mattin goaled.
Neath responded with hooker Sion Crocker and No.8 Tomi Antozzi leading the forward effort and in-form wing James Roberts just failed to get the touchdown after a good run and chip and chase.
But it was the students who led at half-time after scrum-half Ellis Bevan took a quick tap and hooker Morgan Nelson dabbed down under the posts for Mattin to convert before Luke Griffiths landed a well-struck goal to make it 10-14.
Griffiths pulled back another penalty for a scrum offence shortly after the resumption but Mattin made it 17-13 when Neath replacement flanker Chris Davies was yellow-carded after what looked like an accidental clash of heads,
Cardiff Met were on top and Exeter centre Barrie Karea took careful watching but they made little headway against a determined Neath defence. On a rare foray into home territory, Griffiths landed his third penalty to make it 16-17 but maybe the Blacks missed an opportunity to get in front by not kicking to the corner for a line-out – a tactic which has served them well this season.
That was Neath’s last opportunity really as Cardiff Met dominated the remainder game, Mattin restoring their advantage. Right on time, Neath had one last chance when scrum-half Macauley Griffiths robbed his opposite number and nearly got away in the 22 but it would have been rough justice on Cardiff Met who fully deserved their victory.
Neath must now pick themselves up for the visit of Maesteg Quins to The Gnoll next Saturday with a few of the injured hopefully back to boost the ranks.
CARDIFF MET – G.Gladding (I.Sheppard); J.Silvester, W.Morris, B.Karea, Z.Clow; J.Mattin, E.Bevan; H.Dobbs (H.Sutherland), M.Nelson (D.Bartlett), M.L.Scott; I.Shenton, R.Horrington; C.Geary, D.Thurston (D.Pritchard), C.Rylands
NEATH – Jordan Rees; L.Griffiths, S.Summers (D.Guarneri), A.Bramwell (capt), J.Roberts; C.Hall, M.Griffiths; S.Jones, S.Crocker (Iestyn Jones), L.Tobias (I.James); J.Blackmore, R.Morgan; J.Coxley, T.Antozzi (C.Davies), J.Hill
Referee – Mr. S.Alsop (Chepstow)
After defeats by Pontypool and Bedwas, Neath travel to Cyncoed to play Cardiff Metropolitan seeking to get their season back on track (kick off – 2.30pm).
Head coach Patrick Horgan said, “We were cruelly denied victory on the final whistle last week and now face a different challenge from the students who are also unbeaten. Last week’s disappointment should serve as a lesson to us all – we need to be far enough ahead to prevent happenings like that.”
Neath delay announcement of the team until Friday afternoon by which time a couple of permits should be confirmed but outside-half Dan Guarneri, props Ifan James and Steffan Jones and new lock Jarryd Davies will be added to the squad that did duty last week.
Neath v Cardiff Metropolitan (Away) 2.30pm
From Jordan Rees, Luke Griffiths, James Roberts, Sion Summers, Aaron Bramwell (captain), A.N.Other, Dan Guarneri, Callum Hall, Macauley Griffiths; Steffan Jones, Ifan James, Liam Tobias, Iestyn Jones, Sion Crocker, Jarryd Davies, Rhys Morgan, Jacob Blackmore, Jordan Coxley, John Hill, Tomi Antozzi, A.N.Other
Touch Judge – Mr. Adrian Shaw