Ruddock doubles Swansea's hopes for celebration

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The Independent Online
Swansea 20 Pontypridd 19

Mike Ruddock's curriculum vitae is already impressive, with two league titles, one Swalec Cup triumph and a victory over the Australians, but the Swansea coach is now on course for the double this season after this slender seventh-round Swalec success.

The only problem for the All Whites is that it may be his last season at St Helen's. Ruddock's contract expires in May and last week he was in Dublin having an interview for the new post of coaching director to Leinster.

Should Ruddock leave, it would be a blow to both Swansea and Wales. He stands head and shoulders above most of his peers for the way in which he nurtures young talent, organises his side and plays to a progressive style.

However, Ruddock's six-year reign looks like coming to a spectacular end, especially if Swansea can follow up this victory with a similar success over Ponty at Sardis Road in Sunday's league encounter.

It was Swansea's resilience in defence that kept them in this game. Scott Gibbs and Mark Taylor were immense in midfield and the back row put in some big hits.

Their combined efforts managed to keep the enterprising Pontypridd back line at bay and allowed them to plunder a 70-metre interception try midway through the first half. Mark Taylor's juggle was followed by a long sprint and suddenly the cup holders' 13-point lead was slashed.

With first use of the near gale force wind, Ponty managed to secure a nine-point interval lead in the end. It never looked like being enough and Swansea ensured it was not.

Swansea: Tries Taylor, Stuart Davies; Conversions A Thomas 2; Penalties A Thomas 2. Pontypridd: Try N Eynon; Conversion N Jenkins; Penalties N Jenkins 4.

Swansea: M Back; W Leach, M Taylor, S Gibbs, Simon Davies; A Thomas, A Booth; I Buckett, G Jenkins (capt), C Anthony, S Moore, P Arnold, D Thomas, Stuart Davies, C Charvis.

Pontypridd: K Morgan (C Cormack, 12-14); D Manley (C Cormack, 40), J Lewis, S Lewis, P Ford; N Jenkins (capt), Paul John; N Eynon, Phil John, A Metcalfe, G Prosser, M Rowley, N Spiller, R Lumkong (M Lloyd, 40), M Williams.

Referee: G Simmonds (Cardiff).

n Yesterday's Swalec Cup seventh-round tie at Treorchy was cancelled after Bridgend decided the waterlogged pitch was too dangerous and refused to play.

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