Rugby Union: Boobyer bound for final: Llanelli set to confront Neath with 11 internationals in cup showdown

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The Independent Online
LLANELLI flourished almost a full hand of 11 internationals yesterday when they named their team to play Neath in tomorrow's Swalec Cup final at Cardiff Arms Park. Small wonder that, even though Neath have six capped players of their own, the champions are so strongly favoured to complete the double.

The one awkward selection decision for the Scarlets was in favour of Neil Boobyer rather than Simon Davies at centre. To reinforce Llanelli's position as favourites, Gareth Llewellyn is the only current international in the Neath team, whereas all the Scarlets' 11 have played for Wales this season.

It is a situation of some discomfort to the Llanelli coach, Gareth Jenkins, who retires with tomorrow's match, but not to Neath, a distant fourth in the league. 'My main worry is whether or not they have another big game in them after such an arduous season,' Jenkins said.

Leighton Davies, the Neath coach, said: 'Any punter will tell you that favourites don't always win.' Neath can adduce their own experience in the 1984 final, which they entered as rank outsiders to the Cardiff of Terry Holmes and Gareth Davies, as evidence in their support. They did not quite win, but went close enough to realise reputations exist to be ruined as well as respected.

The only survivor from the Neath side in that '84 match is the flanker Lyn Jones, but he has been playing for Llanelli since 1990 and is one of several of the combatants who have been to previous finals with tomorrow's opponents.

Llanelli (v Neath, Cardiff Arms Park, tomorrow): I Jones; I Evans, N Boobyer, N Davies, W Proctor; C Stephens, R Moon (capt); R Evans, A Lamerton, D Joseph, P Davies, A Copsey, M Perego, E Lewis, L Jones. Replacements: H Williams, S Wake, L Delaney, P Young, P Jones, S Quinnell.

Neath: P Thorburn; J Reynolds, H Woodland, A Donovan, S Bowling; M McCarthy, R Jones; B Williams, A Thomas, J Davies, Glyn Llewellyn, Gareth Llewellyn (capt), M Morris, S Williams, A Varney. Replacements: J Bird, M DeMaid, L Gerrard, L Isaac, M Whitson, I Boobyer.