Rugby Union: Swansea cross Keys line at will

Swansea 60 Cross Keys 3
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The Independent Online
SWANSEA DULY booked their place in the Swalec Cup final against the 10-times winners, Llanelli, by devastating first division Cross Keys in their semi-final at Pontypridd's Sardis Road.

The rebel Welsh club, poised for a welcome return to the Welsh Premier Division after a season in exile, along with Cardiff, were simply head and shoulders above Keys.

They did their best to retain respectability and found, in the flanker Steve Gardner, a player who was certainly good enough to make the step up. Unfortunately they were exposed behind, where Wales centres Mark Taylor and Scott Gibbs had a field day on the end of some clever passing and running from their stand-off, Arwel Thomas.

Taylor, who fitted in to the Welsh side particularly well once Allan Bateman was ruled out post Edinburgh, opened the scoring with a try in the fifth minute after Thomas had, for the first time in the game, made the initial break.

But, if Taylor was to take the early plaudits, it was the wing Matthew Robinson who stole a march on his Wales team-mate with three tries in 10 first half minutes. Thomas converted all three and then slotted another conversion when Richard Rees waltzed over on the right-hand side for his side's fifth try.

Rees added his second try just after half-time, his side's sixth, when the referee, Derek Bevan, missed a forward pass to Rees, who did the rest from five metres out.

David Rees, the veteran Cross Keys fly half, who was told he would never play again after undergoing four knee operations three years ago, showed the odd touch of class, but he was powerless to do anything as Swansea simply eased through to the final for the first time in three seasons.

Tyrone Maullin, the lock playing in Swansea's back row in the absence of Colin Charvis, added try number seven and Thomas converted. But that was not the end of the misery for Keys - Dean Thomas, the Wales A flanker, put his stamp on the game with a try that the replacement Lee Davies converted, off the post, from the touchline.

Swansea: Tries Taylor, Robinson (3), Rees (2), Maullin, D Thomas; Conversions A Thomas (6), Davies; Penalties A Thomas (2). Cross Keys: Drop goal Rees.

Swansea: D Weatherley; R Rees, M Taylor (C van Rensburg, 64), S Gibbs (capt), M Robinson; A Thomas (L Davies, 62), R Jones (A Booth, 73); D Morris, G Jenkins (C Wells, 57), B Evans (C Anthony, 55), J Griffiths, A Moore (J Bater, 70), P Moriarty, D Thomas, T Maullin.

Cross Keys: I Bebb; J Vernall (S Crane, 32), S Reed (capt; G Cooper, 63), C Bushell, R Nicholls; D Rees, C Ellis (T Walsh, 41,); I Evans (G Stroud, 41,), L Gardner (L Davies, 65,), D Crimmins, M Price, N Kelly (S Llewellyn, 67), J Powell (E Lewis, 41), S Gardner, P Watkins.

Referee: D Bevan (WRU).

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