Swansea close gap to six points at top of Championship
28 February 2016 11:58
Dai Watts was among the try scorers as the All Whites scored a dozen against lowly lanhaan
Swansea closed the gap at the top of the SSE Swalec Championships to six points as they thrashed basement side Llanharan 70-7 at St Helen's.
The All Whites ran in 12 tries to edge closer to Merthyr at the top of the table s they played their game in hand on the leaders. Wing Richard Thomas and full back Liam Popham both grabbed hat-ricks.
Mitchell Walsh, Olly Quick, Phil Jones, Elliot Clement, Andrew Claypole and Dai Watts grabbed the other tries for the home side and Phil Jones added five conversions. Llanharan travelled without any replacements and had to use the same 15 players for the full 80 minutes.
Third placed Pontypool were also able to secure a bonus point in their 29-20 home win over Beddau. A tight match saw Pooler come out on top after an inspired first half in which they led 24-8 after securing a bonus point with four tries.
But back came Beddau in the second half - Pontypool had won 10-9 in the earlier meeting between the two teams - and they outscored their hosts 12-5 in the second period to set the home supporters' nerves jangling.
But in their first game since 30 January, and their first since backs coach Stuart Lawrence departed the club, Pooler blew away the cobwebs as they prepared for a vital visit to north Wales this weekend to meet fourth placed RGC 1404. The win over Beddau took them 14 points clear of RGC, but the north Walians have two games in hand.
With four of the five teams that have achieved the WRU 'A' Licence set to gain promotion to the Principality Premiership next season, the closing stages of this campaign are likely to be hard fought. The reigning champions Bargoed are currently in fifth place and they closed the gap on RGC to four points with a bonus-point win at Glynneath.
In their game in hand over the fourth placed side, Bargoed ran in five tries in a 33-10 triumph that put them within striking distance of a top four finish the season after they failed to gain promotion because they didn't have the right facilities. Now things are different.
Darren Lynch, Lewis Protheroe, Gareth Dare, Darren Humphries and James Pizey scored tries for the visitors, who were forced to battle back from a 10-7 deficit early in the first-half. Next up for Bargoed this weekend is what could be a season defining clash at home against Championship leaders Merthyr.
Bridgend Athletic fought back to beat Tata Steel 24-20 at Groes Fields. The Saints were leading 13-7 at half time, but an inspired second half from the visitors saw them come out on top.
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Both Bargoed and Swansea were seeking their first win of the Principality Premiership season this afternoon. It proved a fruitful day for the hosts - not only did they win, but Bargoed claimed a try bonus point.
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RGC 1404's new head coach Mark Jones is hoping to build 'something special' in north Wales and is already looking forward to the development region participating in the Principality Premiership for the very first time.