Paul gives Rowell food for thought

Swansea 30 Harlequins 34
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The Independent Online
The Swansea secretary, Byron Mugford, made public his disappointment at the second-string team fielded by Harlequins, but by the end of yet another successful English foray into the Anglo-Welsh Cup, Mugford must have been grateful the first string stayed at home.

Harlequins, the unbeaten leaders of the Courage First Division, had the mandatory rugby league recruit on show in Robbie Paul, late of Bradford Bulls. Paul showed with several midfield thrusts why Jack Rowell, the England coach, has been studying his lineage. How ironic, then, that Harlequins should have Steve Pilgrim lining up behind the New Zealander. Pilgrim received a one-year ban from the Rugby Football Union for participating in a rugby league trial with Leeds.

Swansea, whose rugby league connection was through the return to their back row of Paul Moriarty after a seven-year absence, were close to full strength. But weaknesses were again evident. The Harlequins wing Dominic Chapman skipped around a flat-footed defence for two tries in the second half to mark his debut, although he would want to forget dropping an earlier pass from Paul when he looked to have an open run to the try-line.

Much as Moriarty tried to catch the eye with a pair of garish red boots, it was his back-row colleague Colin Charvis who did most to drive Swansea forward. Charvis has come on leaps and bounds since his arrival from London Welsh, testament to the faith shown in him by the Swansea coach, Mike Ruddock.

Charvis claimed Swansea's first try after 33 minutes, when he emerged from a ruck in the Harlequins 22. The centre Mark Taylor and wing Alan Harris (twice), went over for the home side during the second half, but the crucial scores came from Harlequins in a seven-minute spell near the end.

Chapman's second try and one by the replacement centre Jason Keyter gave Harlequins the daylight they needed.

Swansea: Tries Harris 2, Charvis, Taylor; Conversions Davies 2; Penalties Davies 2. Harlequins: Tries Chapman 2, Walshe, Watson, Keyter; Conversions Pilgrim 3; Penalties Pilgrim.

Swansea: A Clement; A Harris, M Taylor, R Boobyer, O Thomas; L Davies, R Jones; I Buckett, G Jenkins (capt), C Anthony, S Moore, P Arnold, A Reynolds, P Moriarty, C Charvis.

Harlequins: S Pilgrim; D Chapman, G Harrison (J Keyter, 66), R Paul, S Bromley; C Wright, N Walshe; A Mullins (capt), P Delaney, A Ozdemir, A Snow, M Watson, S Owen, I Desmond, I Pickup.

Referee: P Rees (Llandovery).