Rugby Union: Gwyn Jones in fight to walk again

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The Independent Online
Robert Cole

Cardiff 22

Swansea 31

Gwyn Jones' medical training gave him an immediate insight into how seriously he was injured. "I think I've broken my neck," the Welsh captain told Jane James, the Cardiff physiotherapist, when she reached his side after a 13-minute ruck had gone badly wrong.

Now the 25-year-old medical student is fighting to be able to walk again, let alone continue his playing career, after damaging his spinal cord against Swansea.

The outside flanker - his neck in a brace - was taken to the Cardiff Royal Infirmary and then transferred to the University Hospital of Wales. "Gwyn suffered a serious neck injury and will be detained in hospital for some time. That is all the family wish to say at the moment, but we intend to issue a further statement on Monday," a hospital spokesman said.

There was further consternation at Cardiff Arms Park when the father of the Swansea captain, Garin Jenkins, collapsed in the crowd. Ivor Jenkins, who recently underwent by-pass surgery, was standing on the terraces with his wife, Anne, when he suffered a heart attack.

By a strange quirk of fate play had moved to the exact spot where the incident happened and Jenkins' mother came running up to the touchline to call for help from her son.

The Swansea hooker climbed over the advertising hoardings into the crowd and took no further part in the match. His father's heart stopped twice, but heart massage was able to restore a pulse and last night he was in a stable condition.

The game assumed secondary importance to the unfortunate incidents and it was to the players' credit that they were able to concentrate hard enough to ensure that the 7,000 fans had some notable moments to savour.

Swansea's triumph consolidated their position two points clear at the top of the Premier Division and inflicted on Cardiff their first league defeat. They slipped down to third behind Pontypridd, largely because their scrum was severely embarrassed for the second week in a row.

Cardiff: Tries G Thomas 2; Penalties Jarvis 4. Swansea: Tries Appleyard, Gibbs, S Davies; Conversions A Thomas 2; Penalties A Thomas 3; Dropped Goal A Thomas.

Cardiff: J Thomas; G Thomas, M Hall, L Botham, N Walker; L Jarvis, R Howley; S John, J Humphreys (capt), D Young (L Mustoe, 52), J Tait, D Jones (G Kacala, 56), S Williams, E Lewis, G Jones (J Ringer, 13).

Swansea: M Back; A Harries, M Taylor, S Gibbs, R Rees; A Thomas, A Booth; J Evans, G Jenkins (capt, C Wells, 63), C Anthony, P Arnold (T Maullin, 77), A Moore, R Appleyard, S Davies, D Thomas (C Charvis, 74).

Referee: D Davies (Llanbradach).