Rugby Union: Weatherley strikes

Swansea 60 Newport 38
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IT WAS far from the demolition job that some of the rebels' harder line followers might have liked but it was enough to maintain Swansea's pursuit of the only cup available to them this season.

Their football neighbours' mascot, Cyril the Swan, made an appearance but, mindful of his Football Association of Wales disciplinary hearing next month, the winged one, real identify unknown, restricted his antics to making life a misery for the ball boys and various pitch-side cameramen.

Thanks to their Anglo-Welsh series and three away draws in the Cup in which Swansea had already scored 207 points and 33 tries, this was the first sight of a Welsh rugby union referee at St Helen's - an official official, if you like. Tony Rowlands came in for predictable stick from the crowd but, if anything, he was lenient towards Swansea as their softening up process included several dubious turnovers at first-half rucks.

Newport's full-back Matt Cardey could not be faulted for his bravery but he was peppered by the high ball from both Swansea half-backs and this more often than not led to Swansea possession.

Swansea were forced to field winger Matthew Robinson, who had originally been withdrawn at the request of Wales coach Graham Henry ahead of next Saturday's Five Nations opener in Scotland. Swansea's Simon Davies had injured a foot in training and Robinson played, setting up one of his side's three first-half tries for Richard Rees, but he made way after 50 minutes, presumably to wait with baited breath for Henry's team, which is expected to be announced tomorrow.

Swansea did not have it all their own way as they moved through to the last 16. The Newport centre Kyle Nichols claimed three tries in the second half, although two of them were in a crazy spell of half-a-dozen tries in the last 14 minutes.

The home backs were always the more penetrative, however, and two tries from full-back Dave Weatherley helped them through.

In just four matches in a comfortable cup run to date, Swansea's tally now reads 42 tries and 267 points.

Swansea: D Weatherley; R Rees, M Taylor (L Davies, 67), S Gibbs (capt)(A Lawson, 70), M Robinson (C van Rensburg, 50); A Thomas, R Jones; D Morris, G Jenkins, C Anthony (B Evans, 70), T Maullin, A Moore (P Arnold, 52), P Moriarty (D Thomas, 60), L Jones (D Thomas, 13-20), C Charvis.

Newport: M Cardey (D Burn, 75); A Harris, M Watkins, K Nicholls, M Llewellyn (G King, 13); S Connor (S Mitchell, 67), S Moore; R Snow, G Hicks, S Cronk (capt), G Taylor, S Roy, J Powell, A Gibbs, B Clark.

Referee: T Rowlands (Treorchy).