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Ebbw Vale Stun Llanelli

Ebbw Vale Stun Llanelli


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This week’s wru.co.uk poll asked: ‘Will Llanelli’s much changed side beat Ebbw Vale in the Welsh Premiership?’ 81 % thought the result was a formality. But the Steelmen had not read the script, and those voters expecting a dead cert will be tearing up their betting slips as Ebbw Vale stunned the defending Welsh champions at Eugene Cross Park.

Home fly-half Bryan Shelbourne kicked five penalty goals to help his side to a 20-8 victory.

Shelbourne watched his first two shots at goal drift wide, but with Llanharan referee Phil Fear giving him plenty of opportunities, the little Irishman opened the game’s scoring in the 20th minute with a simple penalty goal from in front.

Llanelli hit back almost immediately when fly-half Gareth Bowen made a break and sent the ball wide for young fullback Barry Davies to dive over in the corner.

Ebbw Vale regained the lead through Shelbourne after Scarlets prop Phil John was spotted throwing a punch, and held the one-point advantage till the break.

Shelbourne (two) and Bowen swapped penalty goals in the opening minutes of the second half while Vale fly-half Scott Mitchell was in the bin for a professional foul.

Shelbourne slotted his fifth penalty goal in the gloom after Llanelli centre Matt Cardey was binned for hands in the ruck.

With eight minutes left on the clock, a Mitchell chip bounced beautifully for talented fullback Richard Davies to score and it was game over.

Scarlets coach Gareth Jenkins paid a heavy price for taking the Steelmen lightly. He made a remarkable 15 changes from the side that beat Sale in the Heineken Cup the previous weekend. And despite having four internationals on his bench, Jenkins refused to make any replacements – consigning the Scarlets to defeat in their opening Welsh Premiership fixture.

Ebbw Vale: Try – R Davies; Pens – B Shelbourne 5.

Llanelli: Try – B Davies; Pen – G Bowen. Halftime: Ebbw Vale 6-5.

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