Rugby Union: Williams and Jenkins run the show

Pontypridd 32 Colomiers 27
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The Independent Online
DECIDEDLY OLD hat they are, but the unofficial man of the match award Martyn Williams won on Saturday may just prove to lead to rich pickings - not to mention more caps.

The Pontypridd flanker was in irrepressible form at Sardis Road as the Welsh League leaders kept up their European Cup challenge with a compelling 32-27 Pool D victory over the French club Colomiers.

But there was no presentation of anything tangible to Williams because this particular accolade was potentially worth a lot more, the seal of approval as the most influential figure on the pitch from the new Wales coach, Graham Henry.

The New Zealander, whose first international job is to pick a Wales team to face South Africa in less than seven weeks' time, has made it clear that he is starting with a clean sheet, and not be swayed by past performances.

And if Williams took his chance to shine when it really mattered, stand- off Neil Jenkins, centre Dafydd James and Williams' fellow flanker Geraint Lewis only did their causes good in the process of supplying Welsh rugby with a badly-needed boost.

Colomiers, last season's French championship semi-finalists, outscored Pontypridd 5-2 in tries, but the metronome place-kicking of Jenkins was decisive as the Pontypridd captain contributed 22 points, landing eight out of nine chances.

Jenkins, whose last French experience was that 51-0 Five Nations mauling at Wembley, went a long way to exorcising that ghost while James laid out his threequarter credentials to Henry in real style. His 28th-minute try was stamped all over with high class; James' mesmerising run turning the Colomiers defence inside out for a try the 5,000-crowd will savour for months to come.

However, Pontypridd will be concerned at conceding those five tries and must work on their defence before taking on the Italian champions, Treviso, on October 9. Pontypridd will go into that contest as group leaders after their second Euro victory.

Pontypridd: Tries D James, R Shorney; Conversions N Jenkins 2; Penalties N Jenkins 6. Colomiers: Tries P Tabacco 3, B de Giusti, P Martinez; Conversion M Carre.

Pontypridd: G Wyatt; R Shorney, D James, J Lewis, G O Lewis; N Jenkins (capt), P John; A Griffiths, M Thomas (A Lamerton 59), M Griffiths, G Prosser, I Gough, G P Lewis, M Williams, D McIntosh (M Lloyd 64).

Colomiers: D Skrela; M Biboulet (B Lhande 72), C Barrau (M Carre, 40), J Sieurac, P Martinez; L Labit, F Galthie (capt, S Milhas, 40); J-P Beyssen, R Tremoulet, P Pages (R Nones,40), G Moro (P Pueyo, 40), H Manent, B de Giusti, P Tabacco, S Peysson.

Referee: David McHugh (Ireland).