Rugby Union: Moriarty steers Swansea to record-breaking victory

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The Independent Online
AS THE run-in for the WRU National League Premier Division title got harder and harder, so Paul Moriarty used his wealth of experience to help steer Swansea to their third crown in seven years.

There were two magnificent tries from the Rugby League returnee to help the All Whites put the final seal on their terrific season at Sardis Road, and nothing more could have been asked of them on the last weekend of an horrendously long season than to score more points than any team has ever done before at Ponty's self-styled House of Pain.

True, there were a few painful moments for Swansea before skipper Garin Jenkins was able to hoist the trophy aloft, none more so than when the Wales lock, Andy Moore, had his lips splattered across his face by a punch from home No 8 Dale McIntosh after only five minutes.

That offence merely earned McIntosh a yellow card, but Moriarty ensured he got his comeuppance as the game progressed. Quite simply Moriarty and his fellow back row men bludgeoned the Kiwi-born Welsh international into submission.

Amazingly, this was the first trophy Moriarty, now 33, had ever won in Rugby Union. He first played for Swansea in 1983 before joining Widnes in 1989.

In the Northern code, he got his hands on the first division league title, the Premiership trophy, the Lancashire Cup and the Charity Shield, as well as playing for Wales and Great Britain.

Now 33, the wait for Union honours at club level made the weekend triumph all the sweeter for him. It could also earn him a surprise re-call to the Welsh squad for next month's six-match trip to Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Not that anything is clear-cut on either side. While the WRU have asked Moriarty about his availability, neither they nor he knows as yet who will be the coach for that trip.

And Moriarty, too, has a problem. He has booked his first family holiday for two years.

"I guess it will come down to whether the new coach has more pull than my wife. I've been promising the family this holiday for some time, although I'd obviously love to play for Wales again," Moriarty said.

"I still think I've got something to offer, but I don't just want to be a stop-gap player for three or four weeks in South Africa. If they can convince me they are looking at me as a long-term prospect, then I'll be interested.

"I've been there, done that and got the T-shirt from the first tour of death by Wales to New Zealand in 1988. I don't want to go through that again for nothing."

Swansea's crowning moment was further defined by the fact they outscored last season's champions by five tries to two. Arwel Thomas also enjoyed his kicking duel with Neil Jenkins, who was possibly playing his last game in Wales before a potential move to Bath, and helped himself to 22 points.

Pontypridd: Tries: Enoch 2; Conversions: Jenkins; Penalties: Jenkins 5. Swansea: Tries: Moriarty 2, Booth, Gibbs, Charvis. Conversions: A Thomas 4; Penalties: A Thomas 4.

Pontypridd: S Enoch, G Wyatt, J Lewis, S Lewis (M McCarthy 79), G Lewis, N Jenkins (capt), Paul John, A Griffiths (N Eynon 62), Phil John (J Evans), G Prosser, S Roy, M Lloyd, D McIntosh (G T Lewis) 78, M Williams.

Swansea: D Weatherley, R Rees, M Taylor, S Gibbs, S Davies, A Thomas, A Booth, I Buckett (J Evans 65), G Jenkins (capt), D Hinkins, P Arnold, A Moore (T Maullin 5), P Moriarty (D Thomas 78), C Charvis, R Appleyard.

Referee: C Thomas (Bryncoch).