Rugby Union: Swansea resolve is tested

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The Independent Online
Newport. . . . .22

Swansea. . . . .27

League titles are never won the easy way and Swansea were forced to dig deep, reveal all their class and twice come from behind to ensure they stayed on course to take the Heineken League crown for a second time in three seasons.

What this victory means, coming on the back of a stunning 15-0 triumph over Neath, is that if the All Whites can beat Pontypridd on 9 April they will be more or less home and dry in the race for the pounds 14,000 top prize.

While their title in 1992 was far more dynamic than their current campaign, Swansea have none the less been very efficient and effective in pursuit of the highest honour in the Welsh game.

This game on Saturday was a prime example of the way in which they have gone about their business. At 11-0 they were in trouble and could have given up, yet within a period of eight minutes around half-time they had scored three tries and tipped the match on its head.

The third of these was an individual classic from Tony Clement as he raced into the line on the blind side of a scrum on half-way and powered his way to score. That try made it 17-11 to the visitors; yet the drama was far from over.

Newport moved back in front thanks to a try from Andrew Lewis and the third of Gareth Rees's penalties before Paul Arnold returned the advantage to Swansea with a fourth try.

Rees struck again to level the scores with nine minutes to go and the game could have gone either way.

In the end, it took another piece of magic from the Swansea backs to tip the balance as David Weatherley somehow released Simon Davies on the right, the wing racing clear to score with three minutes to spare.

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, 46), 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, R Moriarty, A Reynolds, Stuart Davies (capt), R Appleyard.

Referee: D Bevan (Clydach).

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