Josh Phillips Lauds 13-Man Pontypridd After Epic Defensive Call Of Duty

The Indigo Premiership delivered plenty of drama at the weekend. Pic: WRU

Josh Phillips Lauds 13-Man Pontypridd After Epic Defensive Call Of Duty

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By David Parsons

Pontypridd full-back Josh Phillips has praised his 13-man team as their recovery continues in the Indigo Group Premiership.

Ponty delivered a backs-to-the-wall defensive display as they secured four welcome points at Aberavon at the weekend to make it back-to-back wins.

On the scoresheet, a first half penalty try followed by three penalties from the boot of Phillips in the second period earned a 16-10 triumph for the Valley Commandos.

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But that only tells half the story, as they had to dig deep following three second half yellow cards, to Ben Burnell, Cally James and Macauley Cook and, at one point, were having to defend for their lives with 13 men as Aberavon piled on the pressure.

“We were on our line for a solid 10 minutes straight, down to 14 men against 15 and then down to 13 men and Aberavon still couldn’t break us,” said Phillips afterwards.

“The work rate of the boys was just tremendous – and that doesn’t require talent.

“In that situation we just worked hard, like we’ve worked hard in training.

“We’ve had our hiccups against other teams and I think we’ve put it right today and, hopefully, we can bounce on from here now going into Quins on Thursday night.”

The Wizards had led 10-7 at half time with centre Sam Jardine scoring a well-worked try.

James Davies added the extras and also kicked a penalty.

Next up for Pontypridd is a home clash with Carmarthen Quins on Thursday night.

The west Walians will head to Sardis Road following a sixth consecutive defeat. The Quins’ latest reverse came at home against Merthyr 22-18, having led 18-7.

Jac Wilson had kicked them into an early 6-0 lead but the Ironmen hit back with a try from skipper Craig Locke, which Josh Lewis improved.

Two more Wilson penalties nudged the Quins 12-7 in front at half time and that lead extended further to 11 points with kicks six and seven from the tee.

But it would be Merthyr leaving Carmarthen Park with the spoils thanks to second half tries from Liam Wiggins and Ben Jones. Lewis and Gareth Thompson added a conversion and penalty respectively.

Having had their seven-game winning run ended at Llandovery last weekend, Pontypool responded as they saw off Neath 24-12.

Conditions made it difficult for both sides but it was Pooler ahead 10-0 at the break through a Kelvyn Williams try, converted by Matthew Jarvis who also kicked an earlier penalty.

That lead was extended when Pooler were awarded a penalty try four minutes after the re-start.

Neath were rewarded for their efforts with second half tries from Morgan Kneath and Ryan Griffiths. Kristian Jones converted the latter to pull the score back to 17-12.

The game was in the balance until the final phases of play when Marcus Jones scored Pooler’s third try, converted by Jarvis.

Meanwhile the 2022 champions, and last season’s runners-up, Cardiff, hit back following damaging home defeats against Pontypool and Newport as they ran out 22-12 victors at Swansea.

Skipper Joey Tomlinson ran in a try in each half after Tom Habberfield had set them on their way with an early score. Arwel Robson kicked two conversions and a penalty.

The All Whites responded from 22-0 down in the second half through tries from Ieuan Bissell, converted by Brandon Wood, and Morgan Morse – but they are still searching for their first home win of the season.

Bridgend made it back-to-back wins by defeating RGC 14-10 in the first of a run of straight home games at the Dunraven Brewery Field for the Ravens.

Kick off had been delayed by 90 minutes after RGC’s bus broke down en route.

Outside half Paul Short’s first half penalty handed the Ravens a slender 3-0 half time advantage which he doubled with his second penalty from long range just after the interval.

RGC’s Sam Earl-Jones and Short then traded further penalties before wing Cameron Ellis’ try on 77 minutes cemented victory for Bridgend – despite a late Ollie Wynn reply for RGC which Earl-Jones converted.

This result for Bridgend backs up their win at Neath – which ended a four-game losing sequence.

It was also the Ravens’ fifth win in their last six home games against RGC, which also includes their 35-13 Premiership Cup victory over the Gogs back in September.

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