Rugby Union: Jenkins' boot rules

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Pontypridd 28 Treviso 22

Treviso fell foul of the English referee Steve Lander and as a result found themselves kicked to defeat by Neil Jenkins in this European Cup "pool of death" opener. The home captain, however, was not impressed by the victory and fears the worst when the Welsh cup holders play host their English equivalents, Bath, on Saturday.

"Looking at beating Bath may be something beyond us at the moment," Jenkins said. "We are playing well, but not well enough. We play well in patches, but not for the whole game. But if any team underestimates us coming to Sardis Road, they will suffer."

Before they face Bath, Pontypridd have to travel to Edinburgh on Wednesday. If they can win, they stand a chance of vying with the English champions and Dax for a quarter-final place.

Dennis John, the Pontypridd coach, said he hoped his side would learn from the game and improve along similar lines in the tournament as they did last year. The main problem was the sluggishness of the front five, although the backs spilled far too much of the ball.

Treviso did what their fellow Italians, Milan, had done in last year's tournament by diving into rucks to kill the ball and Lander punished them in the first half. It meant what promised to be a highly entertaining game turned into a very poor spectacle.

Jenkins' riposte was five first-half penalties, two more after the break and a tally of 22 points. While he was landing eight out of eight, Francesco Mazzariol, his opposite number, was keeping up the 100 per cent goalkicking record with five penalties and a conversion. Mazzariol also scored his side's only try on the stroke of half-time as the Italians crept into the lead 16-15.

In fact, it took only four minutes after the interval for the game to turn. Jenkins stroked home his sixth penalty and from the restart the Ponty front five went into action. Mark Rowley launched the raid when he took the ball from the drop-out and he handed on to his second-row partner Greg Prosser. He drove up to the Treviso 10-metre line before releasing inside to the prop Neil Eynon. He rolled the ball on to the Wales flanker Martyn Williams, who raced 25 metres to score. Jenkins landed the touchline conversion and Ponty were nine points clear.

The Italians hammered away, but the game figured only three more penalties, one from Jenkins and two from Mazzariol, as it drifted to its climax.

Pontypridd: Try Williams; Conversion Jenkins; Penalties: Jenkins 7. Benetton Treviso: Try Mazzariol; Conversion Mazzariol; Penalties Mazzariol 5.

Pontypridd: K Morgan (C Cormack, 22-25); D Manley, S Lewis, J Lewis, P Ford; N Jenkins (capt), Paul John; N Eynon, Phil John, A Griffiths, G Prosser, M Rowley, M Lloyd (R Collins, 27), D McIntosh, M Williams.

Benetton Treviso: P Dotto; L Perziano, I Francescato, P Donati, L Manteri; F Mazzariol, A Troncon (capt); M Dal Sie, A Moscardi, A Castellani, D Scaglia, C Signori, V Christofoletto (S Rigo, 66), L Bot, A Sgorlon.

Referee: S Lander (RFU).

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