Rugby Union: Davies wings in to start the rout

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The Independent Online
Swansea. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45

Bridgend. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

ANY ideas that Swansea, the Heineken League champions, have abandoned their interest in this season's title were firmly scotched at St Helen's when they pulled off a seven- try rout of Bridgend to leave them level pegging at the top of the table with Cardiff and their visitors last night.

Because of injury to three of their wings, Bridgend had to play men out of position and that weakness was fully exposed in the 22nd minute when Simon Davies strolled over unhampered after a series of Swansea attacks.

Davies also had a hand in the second try, again making space outside his opposite number before getting in the scoring pass to Weatherley. Bridgend could hardly believe that, after dominating early on, they should be adrift so spectacularly. And worse was to follow on the stroke of half- time when Chris McDonald dashed over from 15 yards out for an opportunist try which Aled Williams converted.

What started so promisingly began to shape as a total disaster for Bridgend when the now ultra-confident Swansea began to exert all the pressure. They dominated the line-out and the scrum and a series of blistering attacks put Bridgend, their confidence shattered, completely on the back foot. It was no surprise at all that, in this mood, the champions should reap a rich dividend.

They did so with two tries inside a minute, the first by Weatherley, his second, and one by Iwan Jones, both converted by Williams.

Weatherley's try came after he drove through the narrowest of gaps, but all the damage had been done by the Swansea forwards in laying siege to the line. They barged their way to an opening and Bridgend's defence cracked as Weatherley took advantge.

It was clear that Bridgend could not match this kind of sustained attacking, but they can only blame themselves for missed tackles when Iwan Jones broke through from 15 yards out, imperiously brushing off two men for his try.

Swansea: Tries S Davies, Weatherley 2, McDonald, I Jones, A Willaims, Thomas; Conversions: Williams 5. Bridgend: Tries Purnell, Andrew, Williams; Conversion Ball; Penalty Ball.

Swansea: A Clement (capt); S Davies, D Weatherley, R Boobyer, W Leech (P Withers, 70); A Williams, C McDonald (R Jones, 76); C Loader, M Thomas, I Buckett, M Evans, R Moriarty, A Reynolds, I Jones, I Davies.

Bridgend: M Back; C Bradshaw, G Jones, J Ball, G Thomas; M Lewis, R Howley (capt); D Rees, I Greenslade, S Gale, S Jenkins, E Williams, S Bryant (N Thomas, 45), J Purnell, A Williams.

Referee: G Simmonds (Cardiff).