Rugby Union: Jenkins outstanding at stand-off

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Pontypridd 73 Bridgend 14

NEIL JENKINS produced a master class in the stand-off arts as his side romped to a convincing victory over Bridgend to maintain their hopes of clinching the Premier Division title. The Pontypridd captain was unstoppable as Ponty helped themselves to 11 tries in a one-sided contest at Sardis Road last night over a young and raw Bridgend side.

The Wales outside-half took his tally in the league this season to 161 points, kicking nine conversions and even scoring a try himself in the 44th minute.

The full-back Kevin Morgan and Tongan prop Nalu Tau were two players to benefit from Jenkins' vision, with Morgan crossing for a hat-trick of tries in the acres of space that his captain's swift passing created for him.

In a ferocious opening, Bridgend kept pace with Ponty but could not maintain such ferocity in the tackle for the whole of the game.

The only surprise was how long the game's first try was in coming. In the 10th minute, the No 8, Dale McIntosh, crashed over from quick ball at the tail of the line-out from 10 yards out. Jenkins converted and was not to miss a pot at goal until Pontypridd's eighth try.

Paul John then stretched Pontypridd's lead with a try nine minutes later after a break by the Wales centre Dafydd James, and the half-back crashed in at the corner.

Jenkins was willing to attack from anywhere and was rifling out passes at will. Morgan then crossed under the posts for his first try after being put into space by McIntosh. Just on half-time, the winger Gareth Wyatt was released by Jenkins and slipped past three defenders to score.

All Bridgend had to show for their efforts was a try by the full-back, Adrian Durston, converted by Gareth Bowen.

In the second half, Jenkins himself opened with a try and Tau quickly followed with two scores. Morgan crossed for a further two and the replacements Jason Lewis and Geraint Lewis scored one try each.

Pontypridd: Tries Morgan 3, Tau 2, John, Wyatt, Jenkins, J Lewis, G Lewis. Mcintosh; Conversions N Jenkins 9. Bridgend: Tries Durston, Pearce. Conversions Bowen 2.

Pontypridd: K Morgan; G Wyatt, D James, S Lewis, G O Lewis; N Jenkins (capt), P John; N Griffiths, T Billups, N Tau, I Gough, G Prosser, N Thomas, M Lloyd, D McIntosh. Replacements used: J Lewis, G Lewis.

Bridgend: A Durston; J Taylor, L Thomas, S Winn, D Jones; G Bowen, S Wake; L Manning, J Hyatt, J White, S Ford, C Stephens (capt), S Pearce, P Thomas, A Williams.

Referee: D Bevan (Clydach).

The Welsh Rugby Union last night gave the go-ahead for this weekend's Swalec Cup quarter-finals involving the rebel clubs Cardiff and Swansea. The WRU's general committee decided after a special two-hour meeting that Cardiff can visit Pontypool and Swansea host Ebbw Vale as planned, despite both clubs being suspended.

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