The undisputed best rugby team in Wales are crowned after tense win

Llandovery celebrate winning the Indigo Premiership Play Off Final
Llandovery celebrate winning the Indigo Premiership Play Off Final -Credit:Huw Evans Picture Agency

Llandovery made it back-to-back Indigo Premiership titles after edging out Newport in a pulsating play-off final at Church Bank.

Inside centre Rhodri Jones’ converted try just after half time proved decisive with both sides having tries chalked off in the second half.

Newport had taken an 11th minute lead through a try from prop Josh Reynolds, but the Drovers responded seven minutes later through outside centre Adam Warren.

It completes a league and cup double for Euros Evans’ men, who also topped the Premiership table at the end of the regular season, which saw them lose just twice and finish undefeated on their home patch.

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“It's hard to put into words to be honest,” said Llandovery flanker Stuart Worrall.

“For the past two seasons, we’ve been building and building and today I think we got our rewards; credit to the boys, a massive effort and also credit to Newport, they made it really difficult, but glad to be on the winning side in the end.”

Worrall, in particular, was instrumental in the win, putting in try saving tackles and securing turnovers at crucial moments as Llandovery kept their opponents out.

Newport will be left to rue missed opportunities and a number of unforced errors that ultimately cost them.

The Black and Ambers came into the game on a run of 15 consecutive victories since they had last tasted defeat – which was also at Church Bank back in November.

They knew a 16th would secure them a first league title since 2004.

After an explosive start, it was Newport who drew first blood with loosehead Reynolds finishing off a classic forwards try after some patient build up play. Matt O’Brien – on his 200th Newport appearance – added the extras.

But Llandovery were level on 18 minutes when, following a maul, Warren seized on a missed Newport tackle, collecting from Lee Rees to go over for a try that Ioan Hughes improved.

The Drovers were reduced to 14 men on 25 minutes with back rower Osian Davies escaping with just a yellow card after catching Newport tighthead Nathan Evans with an elbow to the face.

But Newport were unable to capitalise on that numerical advantage, with a couple of knock-ons costing them, while the hosts got a hand in every time they got in behind, with Worrall to the fore.

With nothing between the sides at the break, Llandovery went back in front three minutes after the re-start after a good finish by Jones in the corner which, after it went to the TMO, the try was given. Hughes landed with the touchline conversion.

The TMO was then called into action again; first ruling out a second Warren try after a knock on in the build-up on 52 minutes and then on hour Newport thought they had scored again through skipper Ben Roach – only for it to be chalked off for obstruction by Josh Skinner.

Hughes’ late penalty attempt from long range clattered the post and there would be no way through for Newport as the Drovers stood firm and celebrated retaining their title.


Llandovery: Tries: A Warren, R Jones; Cons: I Hughes (2)

Newport: Try: J Reynolds; Con: M O’Brien