Rugby Union: Treorchy nightmare for Llanelli: Copsey sent off

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Treorchy. . .16

Llanelli . . .0

TREORCHY, the upstarts from the Rhondda Valley, have a slogan: 'Help turn the dream into reality'. The dream came true last night when the reality of a sensational defeat was shattering for Llanelli, who suffered the ultimate indignity when their Wales lock, Anthony Copsey, was sent off for stamping.

Here, laid bare for the ecstatic folk packing The (other) Oval, was the meritocracy that is supposedly incarnate in the Heineken League. Having proved themselves worthy, Treorchy stand equal, and on this occasion vastly superior, to the once- mighty Scarlets.

This is a stunning achievement both in its own right and for the message of hope it sends to the myriad clubs who aspire to Welsh rugby's elite. Never mind the proud history, even Llanelli are simply as good as current form.

That had been pretty good - two out of two league wins - before last night but they mistakenly fielded a moderate side and played a heavy price for what may or may not have been complacency. The Scarlets, badly rattled, were quite unable to respond.

In one sense it was no surprise. After all, this was Treorchy's first home First Division fixture - which would have been reason enough for a big performance without having lost their opening two games, at Neath and Swansea.

That is a cruel, cruel start but Treorchy ran Neath and Swansea so close that when they then went on to beat Llanelli it did not come as a particular surprise. It was merely one step further than previously. If they had known how to turn territorial advantage into points they would have won by a lot more.

As it was, the decisive breakthrough came towards the end of the first half when Chris Bridges and Lyn Jones combined with Owain Lloyd in a tap-penalty move which put Lloyd Davies in for a try.

That Jones and Davies were playing for Llanelli last season neatly reflected the recruitment, internationals among them, that has taken place here. No fewer than 14 of last night's winners were playing elsewhere the season before last.

There have been mutterings about how this mass influx was achieved, but the fact is that you will not survive in the First Division with Second Division players. Instead, Treorchy deserve credit.

The majority of recruits are valley boys. Treorchy have added Rhondda to their name and, through their sponsors, have taken on the responsibility for developing rugby throughout the valley.

And finally, the former Wales stand-off David Evans, from nearby Aberdare, kicked three second-half penalties - the last for Copsey's act of skullduggery on Lloyd Gilbey - to turn the dream into reality.

Treorchy: Try Davies; Conversion Evans; Penalties: Evans 3.

Treorchy: D Lloyd; D Hughes, D St John, L Davies, A Lewis; D Evans, C Bridges; A Dibble, L Gilbey, M Powell, A Collins, A Gwilym, G Owen, O Lloyd, L Jones (capt).

Llanelli: I Jones; I Evans, N Bobyer, N Davies (capt), W Proctor; C Stephens, H Harries; R Evans, A Lamerton, H Williams-Jones, P Davies, A Copsey, A Macpherson, I Hembrow, M Codd.

Referee: G Simmonds (Cardiff).