Neath gained their second pre-season friendly win when they visited the verdant Neath Valley to play Glynneath on Saturday.
The week’s rains relented and gave way to sunshine and, after a first-half that was more even than the scoreboard suggested, the Welsh All Blacks pulled away after the interval, registering 8 tries in all.
The game started with a bang when, from the kick off, impressive scrum-half Chris Morgans exploited the blind-side for winger Josh Jones to finish in style with the opening try.
Glynneath, well led by lively skipper James Parry and the experienced Stuart Leach, hit back with a penalty by outside-half Corey Jenkins after a friendly exchange of views between the forwards. That was how it stayed until the half-hour when the effervescent Morgans sped away from a tap penalty for a well-deserved solo try which full back Alec Jenkins goaled.
As half-time approached, Morgans was the instigator of Neath’s third try scored by Aaron Bramwell and, on the whistle, excellent inter-passing resulted in a second try for Josh Jones, Sam Withers converting.
Glynneath started the second half well and a lineout drive led to a try by hard-working front rower Callum Davies which Chris Moore converted but Neath hit back with a try by centre Ryan Evans.
When the Neath forwards attacked from deep, the sixth try soon followed, Gareth McCarthy celebrating his return by converting his own try and, when flanker James Bain retrieved another attack at the breakdown, a perfect McCarthy pass freed winger Ian Ellis to skate in, McCarthy adding the points.
Despite losing James Locke to the sin-bin, centre Kylam Austin was rewarded for his good support play inside the dancing Ellis with Neath’s eighth try and McCarthy again did the honours to lift the half-century.
This was another step up for Neath whose team manager Martyn Morris commended Glynneath on their play saying, “We obviously have a lot of work to do in some areas but it was nice to see some exciting patterns developing in our play. Fair play to Glynneath too – they showed great organisation and contributed a great deal to what was a very useful exercise for us.”
Next up for Neath is another Championship challenge when Newbridge come to The Gnoll on Thursday evening (kick off 7.30pm). Former Wales back-rower Morris said, “Against Newbridge, we will continue to look at different combinations and build on the good work we’ve already done in what will be our last game-time before the Premiership season starts.”
Neath :- Alec Jenkins; Ashley Evans, Dean Howell, Aaron Bramwell, Josh Jones; Iwan Evans, Chris Morgans; Aaron Coundley, Sion Crocker, Nicky Downs; Rhys Jones, Jonny Griffiths; Lee Beach, Calum Davies, Alun Jones.
Replacements (all played) – Ian Ellis, Ryan Evans, Kylam Austin, Gareth McCarthy, Sam Withers, Tom James, Roy Jones, Ieuan Dobbs, Owen Jordan, Leon Ward, Jon Barley, James Bain, Gareth Beer, Steffan Jones, Jack Davies, James Lock.