High-flying Drovers standing in way of Whites revival bid
SWANSEA face the daunting prospect of a trip to Llandovery tomorrow (2.30) looking for a lift after starting the season slowly.
The Whites suffered a third defeat from their opening four games when Cross Keys triumphed at St Helen's on Wednesday.
Next up for Mefin Davies's side is a trip to face the Drovers, who have won all three of their matches so far.
"It doesn't get any easier," said Swansea team manager Ian Hopkins.
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"We've played Bedwas, Cross Keys and now Llandovery.
"It will be a difficult game. They've done very well over the years, they've come together and they're a formidable side as they're showing.
"It's another tough one. We'll gather around, look at the video and see if we can put right the wrongs of Wednesday night."
Llandovery are second only on points difference in the early Premiership table and have a game in hand on leaders Llanelli.
They have recorded victories over Cardiff, Neath and Bridgend so far and also enjoyed the luxury of having no game in midweek.
"They're one of the sides who don't have that much regional disruption, they're playing the same core group of players week in, week out, and that has benefits," said Hopkins. "When they do have inclusion from the Scarlets, it's only one or two so they can blend in quite nicely."
Swansea were well beaten by Cross Keys two days ago.
The Gwent outfit edged the first half before moving away from the hosts in the second period.
Keys broke the deadlock on 24 minutes when Elliot Jones collected a delightful Gareth David kick to the corner and touched down.
Dorian Jones added the extras and also kicked a penalty to put the visitors in charge.
Swansea got back into the game through James McKenna, who gathered a sliced Sam Kiley kick before going over for a try that Nicky Thomas converted.
The fightback was short lived, however, as Keys prop Richard Cornock burrowed over from close range and wing Nathan Trowbridge galloped in out wide.
Cornock's try was converted by Jones who also knocked over another penalty.
Swansea fly-half Thomas then converted his own try late on, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation.
"Cross Keys started very well in the second half and pinned us in our 22 for a long period of time," said Hopkins.
"They put us under a spell of pressure and scored some points.
"They are a good side as they showed in getting to the final of the British & Irish Cup last season.
"They've started the season well, they've only had a loss against Pontypridd and they'll certainly be challenging for honours if they continue in this form.
"The positives for us were we kept our heads up, didn't give up and came back with a late try.
"That showed the character the boys have got."
Hopkins believes it will take time for the Whites to settle after a summer of upheaval.
Coach Jason Hyatt has been replaced by Davies, with Ben Lewis coming in as his assistant and Kevin Hopkins as backs coach.
"We've got a completely new coaching set-up and because of those changes we're maybe a month behind where everybody else is," added Hopkins.
"We have a lot of new players and there are still youngsters being looked at. We're very much in transition. Hopefully a couple of matches down the track we'll see what everyone is about and we'll be a more settled team.
"Then hopefully the better performances will come."
Swansea: N. Thomas; A. Jenkins, C. Shelmerdine, N. Harwood, R. Williams; S. Davies, W. Batcup; A. Mason, P. John (capt), N. Thomas, J. Barley, R. Hughes, J. McKenna, D. Baker, J. Bija. Reps: S. Otten, N. Smith, I. Williams, S. Kiley, R. Dudley-Jones, A. Lewis, B. Roberts, J. Thomas.