Rugby Union: Swansea make their points

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The Independent Online
Pontypridd. .15

Swansea. . . 25

THERE was too much at stake, with Swansea determined to get the two points to keep them in contention with the leaders Neath and Llanelli, while Pontypridd were trying to propel themselves into the top four of the Heineken League.

Thus it was League rugby at its worst, a contest devoid of running attack. Unless you are a connoisseur of the maul, you would have to go far to see a game as dreary as this. Not once did we see a passing movement worth its salt, and not once did we see a winger on either side given the ball to have a run.

It was a match totally dominated by obsessive mauling and by the kicking of the half-backs, a duel between Aled Williams and last year's Welsh outside- half Neil Jenkins. Jenkins was a sharp thorn in Swansea's side, making a huge amount of yardage with his superbly rifled kicks. Time and again he created platforms which kept Pontypridd in the game.

The Swansea forwards were far stronger and won the line- out comfortably, but they were guilty, especially in the first half, of not putting in sufficient work.

This was particularly true in the mauls, where they played like a bunch of individuals against the better organised, smaller but more determined forwards of Pontypridd. Time and again they rolled their way past the Swansea pack.

It was inevitable that a game as drab as this should be dominated almost entirely by penalty goals, five by Jenkins for Pontypridd and five by Williams for Swansea, who also added a conversion and a drop goal. Fittingly, the only try, coming 10 minutes from the end, was scored by Paul Arnold from a forward drive.

Swansea went home probably believing that the end had justified the means, but they left both the spectators and rugby as the losers.

Pontypridd: M Back; D Manley, J Lewis, S Lewis, O Robbins; N Jenkins, P John; N Bezani (capt), P John, M Powell, J Scarlett, G Prosser, M Spiller, P Thomas, M Lloyd.

Swansea: A Clement; S Barclay, I Lewis, S Gibbs, S Marshall; A Williams, R Jones; I Buckett, G Jenkins, R Shaw, R Moriarty, P Arnold, A Reynolds, S Davies (capt) (I Davies, 75 min), R Appleyard.

Scores: Williams (pen, 3 min, 0-3); Jenkins (pen, 9 min, 3-3); Williams (pen, 11 min, 3-6); Williams (pen, 28 min, 3-9); Williams (pen, 38 min, 3-12); Jenkins (pen, 42 min, 6-12); Jenkins (pen, 44 min, 9-12); Jenkins (pen, 49 min, 12-12); Williams (pen, 61 min, 12-15); Arnold/Williams (try/conv, 70 min, 12-22); Jenkins (pen, 74 min, 15-22); Williams (drop goal, 80 min, 15-25).