Rugby Union: Swansea leave it late

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The Independent Online
Newport. . . . . . . . . . . . . .22

Swansea. . . . . . . . . . . . . .27

SWANSEA, who required three wins from their last four games to ensure winning the Heineken League - assuming Neath and Pontypridd, their nearest rivals, do not falter - all but squandered valuable points in this remarkable game at Rodney Parade and only managed to creep ahead three minutes from the end with a late try.

Although Swansea utterly dominated and outplayed Newport for three-quarters of the match, they failed to get points on the board and at one stage were losing 11-0, all but falling to a gutsy Newport team who showed a lot of courage, particularly in the last quarter.

Swansea were probably still suffering from their tremendously hard game against Neath in midweek, but fortunately Alan Reynolds, Stuart Davies, Robin McBryde and Paul Arnold turned in high- class performances in the forwards.

Newport began bravely, assisted by a poor kick-off by Swansea. They kicked a penalty goal in the second minute for over-the-top at a ruck. Newport scored again when Jonathan Westwood found touch on the Swansea line and from the line- out Richard Goodey fell over for a try.

Although Swansea continued to dazzle, it was again Newport who broke away to impose more pressure and for Rees to kick a penalty.

Finally, Swansea began to confirm their promise and scored when Phil Withers chipped ahead, regathered, scored and also converted. Then a poor clearance kick by Rees was gathered by Simon Davies, who passed inside to Reynolds, who scored. Finally the scoreboard was beginning to show Swansea's supremacy in all departments.

Another penalty by Rees made it 22-22 before Swansea scored a controversial winning try when a kick by Roger Bidgood was charged down. Although Newport screamed offside, Robert Jones and David Weatherley combined to put Simon Davies over for the winning try.

Newport: Tries Goodey, Lewis; Penalties Rees 4. Swansea: Tries Withers, Reynolds, Clement, Arnold; Simon Davies; Conversion Withers.

Newport: J Westwood; I Jeffreys, R Bidgood (capt), D Hughes (M Yendle, 50), A Lewis; G Rees, M Roderick; A Dibble, I Jones, S Duggan, N Jones, C Wyatt, B Atkins, R Goodey, C Scott.

Swansea: A Clement; Simon Davies, S McIntosh, D Weatherley, S Barclay; P Withers, R Jones; I Buckett, R McBryde, R Shaw, P Arnold, D Moriarty, A Reynolds, Stuart Davies, R Appleyard.

Referee: W Bevan (WRU).

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