Rugby union: Pontypridd march to European beat

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Glasgow Caledonians 21 Pontypridd 43

THE BURDEN of the tag of being the only side who can challenge French dominance in the European Cup campaign this season was nearly too heavy to bear for Pontypridd.

The Welsh side struggled to overcome a spirited and well organised Caledonian Reds side at Partick Thistle yesterday. Their captain Neil Jenkins, who kicked 23 points, knows his team has a lot of work to do if they are to live up to their billing of the only side that can beat the might of France.

Pontypridd believe they are flying the flag for Wales and Britain, following the withdrawal of the top English clubs and the Welsh rebels Cardiff and Swansea.

But Jenkins knows his side had no excuse for not firing on full cylinders in this encounter as his side failed to dominate at the set piece and in the loose.

Pontypridd have swept all before them at the start of this season in Wales, but the Reds came out fired up and the Welsh side struggled as Reds' Cook Islands stand-off Tommy Hayes slotted over a penalty.

Winger Geraint Lewis then scored a superb try in the first fluent move Pontypridd put together and Jenkins added two more penalties in reply to a further penalty by Hayes.

Hayes continued his kicking duel with Jenkins with both converting two further penalties before the Caledonians full-back, Glenn Metcalfe, sped away for the best try of the game.

Jolted by the Glasgow's arrogance, Jenkins added another penalty before his half-back partner, Paul John, crossed for a well deserved try, Lewis and James adding two more, Caledonian replying through winger James Craig.

Glasgow: Tries G Metcalfe, J Craig; Conversions T Hayes; Penalties T Hayes 3. Pontypridd: Tries G Lewis, P John, G P Lewis, D James; Conversions N Jenkins 4; Penalties N Jenkins 5.

Glasgow Caledonians: G Metcalfe; D Stark (S. Longstaff, 63), C Simmers, R Shepherd (capt), J Craig (A Bulloch, 86); T Hayes, F Stott (D Patterson, 57); T Smith, G Bulloch, W Anderson (G McIlwham, 63), S Grimes, S Campbell, J White, J Shaw (G Flockhart, 63), G Simpson (G Mackay, 64).

Pontypridd: G Wyatt; R Shorney, D James (M Griffiths, h-t), S Lewis, G O Lewis; N Jenkins (capt), P John; A Griffiths, A Lamerton (M Thomas, 57), K Jones, G Prosser, I Gough, G P Lewis, M Williams (M Lloyd, 61; M Earl, 68), D McIntosh.

Referee: N Yates (RFU).

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