Rugby Union: Swansea keep their quarter-final hopes alive

Swansea 30 Glasgow 22
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The Independent Online
Swansea 30

Glasgow 22

The mathematics to Swansea's Heineken Cup survival is kids' stuff. Two more points and the job is as good as done.

But getting the sum right promises to be something else, as it involves the mighty task of going to Loftus Road on Sunday and inflicting a first tournament defeat this season on Wasps.

Victory at St Helen's on Saturday drew Swansea level with the Scottish district side and, with only next weekend's final round of group matches to go before the lucrative knock-out stages, the All Whites edged into second place by virtue of a superior points difference of 47.

So as far as the scrap goes for second place - Wasps are already home and dry as Pool B winners with a maximum 10 points and an automatic quarter- final place - it is now as good as sudden death for a last eight play- off place on the first weekend in November.

The outcomes of Wasps against Swansea and Glasgow against Ulster will settle it with, on the surface anyway, Glasgow's home advantage as they chase the double against the bottom team Ulster tilting the odds the Scots way.

Not that Swansea see it like that. "We will go to Wasps in a positive frame of mind," said their backs coach, Kevin Hopkins, the former Wales centre. "People don't expect us to win so we won't be under any pressure and we will be giving it our best shot.

"There were glimpses of what we can do and what encouraged me most was the way we dug in and showed character, particularly with such a young front five."

If Swansea are to cause an upset, they will have to move up a couple of gears on this performance. They never dictated matters and midway through the second half, there was only a two points difference after some slack defending allowed the centre Matt McGrandles to sprint over for a superb try.

With the Cook Island's international outside-half Tommy Hayes on song with his boot, including a penalty from halfway, the threat was always there of Swansea facing Wasps with only pride at stake.

That there will be more, much more, resting on Sunday's trip, was down in no small measure to Scott Gibbs playing despite still suffering from flu.

The Lions centre scored their first try with a typical charge for the corner and saved Swansea with a crunching tackle on James Craig.

Rhodri Jones got the other try from a kick and chase, and his half-back partner Aled Williams contributed 20 points with the boot.

Swansea: Tries Gibbs, Jones; Conversion Willliams; Penalties A Williams (6). Glasgow: Try McGrandles; Conversion Hayes; Penalties T Hayes (5).

Swansea: M Back; S Davies, M Taylor, S Gibbs (capt), R Rees; A Williams, R Jones (A Booth, 61); C Anthony, C Wells, I Buckett (C Loader, 55), D Niblo, J Griffiths, A Reynolds, R Appleyard, P Moriarty.

Glasgow: C Sangster (G Fraser, 63); D Stark, C Simmers, M McGrandles, J Craig; T Hayes, F Stott; G McLlwham, G Bulloch (capt), A Kittle, S Begley, G Perrett, J Shaw, I Sinclair, F Wallace.

Referee: G Black (Ireland).

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