GREG Woods may have been out in Japan doing some coaching as part of the WRU’s legacy work in Kitakyushu, but he had no cause for alarm about his side progressing in the Specsavers National Cup, writes Rob Cole.

Ebbw Vale got off to an explosive start, were ruthless when Narberth lost their captain to the sin-bin and ended up running in six tries in a comfortable triumph that eased them into the second round.

That explosive start saw the home side score 13 points in 11 minutes, including two tries in seven minutes. The Championship side were rather like rabbits caught in the headlights to begin with and full back Dan Haymond was able to cross in the right corner after constant pressure.

It was a half-break in the midfield from Dom Franchi that created the space for the full back, who saw his touchline conversion hit the upright. From the re-start the Steelmen went straight back onto the attack thanks to some good groundwork by Dan Hill to regain possession on his 10 metre line.

From there the ball was spread wide to the right where the speed, power and tenacity of Paul King on the wing earned the second try from 35 metres out. Haymond was again off the mark with his conversion, but couldn’t miss from in front of the posts with a penalty moments later.

At that stage it looked like being a cricket score, yet Narberth firstly steadied their ship and then fought back. Wing Josh Davies crashed through two defenders to score a try that Nick Gale converted and then the full back added a penalty to cut the gap to three points.

But when they lost their captain, lock Alex Jenkins, to the sin-bin for a breakdown offence with seven minutes left in the first-half, their comeback hopes plummeted. Ebbw Vale smelt blood and Sam Ireland worked the blindside of a scrum on the Otters’ line perfectly to cross in the right corner.

Haymond hit the upright for a second time off the touchline, but finally got a conversion right when flanker Dawid Rubasniak went over for a try from a driving line-out on the stroke of half-time.

It didn’t take long for the home side’s 15 point interval lead to grow as lock Lance Randall powered over with an unstoppable run to score a try that Haymond again improved. Dan Hill was next over the line, breaking clear from a driving line-out maul for a try that Haymond converted.

Narberth never gave up, kept on moving the ball impressively and, moments after home skipper Dai Langdon had been sent to the bin for an illegal tackle, replacement scrum half Rhys Lane broke blind from a scrum on the home 22 and passed back inside for fellow replacement Rhodri Owen to score their second try.

Ebbw Vale: Dan Haymond, Paul King, Dom Franchi, Dai Langdon (captain), Ewan Rosser, Ethan Phillips, Sam Ireland, Ross Jones, Rhys Francis, Rob Sevenoaks, Dan Hill, Lance Randall, Craig Fillier, Daweed Rubasniak, Cameron Regan

Reps: Mikhail Blake, Luke Garrett, Morgan Davies, Joe Franchi, Harry Harding, Dai Jones, Matthew Flanagan, Dafydd Thomas

Scorers: Tries: D Haymond, P King, S Ireland, D Rubasniak, L Randall, D Hill; Cons: D Haymond 3; Pen: D Haymond.

Narberth: Nick Gale; Josh Davies, Joe Hutchins, Jake Jenkins, Yannick Parker; Ianto Griffiths, Lewis Gibby; Brad Davies, Dan Smith, Tom Slater, Jake Baker, Alex Jenkins (captain), Dewi Williams, Harry Phillips, Ray Osbourne

Reps: Kyle Hamer, Dan Jacobs, Rhodri Owen, Tom Powell, Rich Rees, Rhys Lane, Jon Rodgers, Alex Cod

Scorers: Tries: J Davies, R Owen; Cons: N Gale, J Hutchins; Pen: N Gale

Star Man: Dan Hill (Ebbw Vale)

Referee: Gareth John