Rugby Union: Robinson on the edge

Swansea 50 Bath 17
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The Independent Online
ARWEL THOMAS picked a good day to prove he is far from ready to be written off as an international player as he orchestrated yet another defeat for Bath. The Swansea No. 10 turned on the style to steer his side to a revenge victory over the one-time kings of English rugby and helped himself to 20 points along the way.

All of which will have come as very good news to the on-looking Wales coach Graham Henry, who is desperately searching for talent to boost his squad as he prepares for next year's World Cup campaign.

Thomas has been out in the cold of late but has certainly made an impression since returning to the All Whites side this month. On this occasion he ran the show from outside-half and ensured with his boot that Swansea made up for their 34-7 hammering at Bath last month.

That loss, albeit with a depleted side on the eve of Wales's game against South Africa, was the second heavy defeat in a row they had suffered at the Recreation Ground. They wanted to make Bath pay and they did just that.

Bath came into the game with 10 internationals and near to their top side. They left with their tails between their legs and their coach Andy Robinson one step nearer the axe.

This was Bath's sixth defeat in seven games and they will face Gloucester on Saturday seeking to end an unprecedented run of five successive Allied Dunbar defeats.

Unless they can shore up their pack, which was shunted all over the slippery St Helen's turf by a motivated set of Swansea forwards, then another defeat looks on the cards.

Bath, who arrived in the middle of a storm, weren't helped by Swansea's flying start, three tries opening up a 28-5 lead at the interval.

It was always going to be tougher for the home side facing the driving wind and rain after the break, yet six minutes into the second half they had notched two more tries.

The first was the best of the game, involving charging runs by Colin Charvis and Scott Gibbs while the second started in the home 22 from the restart and ended with left-wing Matthew Robinson notching his second try in as many minutes.

That score killed the game as a contest although Bath conjured up two late tries. Nine minutes from time the home loose-head prop Darren Morris was sent off for stamping on Bath hooker Andy Long.

Swansea: D Weatherley (M Back, 66); R Rees, M Taylor, S Gibbs (capt), M Robinson; A Thomas, R Jones; D Morris, G Jenkins, B Evans (C Anthony, 66), P Arnold, A Moore, C Charvis, D Thomas (B Evans, 71), L Jones.

Bath: J Callard (I Balshaw, 47); I Evans, M Catt, M Tindall (K Maggs, 47), A Adebayo; M Perry, G Cooper; K Yates, A Long (L Mears, 71), D Hilton, S Borthwick, D Jones, R Earnshaw, R Webster (capt), N Thomas (R Bryan, 76).

Referee: P Bolland (Newport).

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