Gwent feud put on one side by Rensburg

Gwent 29 Neath-Swansea 19
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The Independent Online

Troubled Gwent put their off-the-field problems to one side to register their first victory in the Celtic League last night.

What had once appeared the most obvious of mergers - between Gwent neighbours Newport and Ebbw Vale - has proved the biggest headache for the pro-regional cause.

But a Shawn van Rensburg try 10 minutes from time will have helped produce a road-map to peace amid the bitter feuding between the camps.

In stark contrast the merger between Neath and Swansea has been surprisingly harmonious and outside-half Gavin Henson, handed the No 10 jersey after his two-try appearance off the bench against Ulster last week, began in scoring mood with an early penalty.

Unfortunately, his team-mates were not in the same gear and a muted first half was brought to life only by two yellow cards and the referee, Alain Rolland, leaving the game with a pulled hamstring.

Scott Gibbs was given his marching orders for a swinging arm as he tackled Gwent's No 8 van Rensburg and Neath-Swansea were temporarily reduced to 13 men when the flanker Gavin Thomas was penalised for putting the knee in at a ruck having set up the attack with a charging run.

It was while Thomas was off the field, though Gibbs had returned, that the Dragons broke the deadlock with the games first try. The prop Adam Black made the initial burst and the former Neath fly-half Lee Jarvis threaded through a neat kick with the outside of the boot for Ben Breeze to run on to and score.

Henson ended the half as he had begun, with a penalty, and was soon stepping again to level the scores by converting James Storey's well-taken try six minutes after the break.

Jarvis and Henson traded penalties and though the Gwent flanker Jamie Ringer became the third to go in the sin bin, the home forwards applied enough pressure for van Rensburg to fall over the line for the crucial try before Jarvis sunk a late penalty to deny Neath-Swansea even a bonus point.

Gwent : Tries Breeze, Van Rensburg. Cons Jarvis 2. Pens Jarvis 5. Neath-Swansea: Try Storey. Con Henson. Pens Henson 4.

Gwent: B Davey; N Brew, A Marinos (capt), S Winn, B Breeze; L Jarvis, R Jones; A Black (D Pattison, 68), P Young (S Jones, 56), C Anthony, I Gough, P Sidoli, S van Rensburg, R Oakley, J Forster (J Ringer, 44).

Neath-Swansea: A Durston (S Connor, 67); D Tiueti (G Morris, 4), J Storey, S Gibbs (capt), E Seveal'i; G Henson, A Williams; P James, B Williams, A Millward, A Newman, L Tait, G Thomas, J Bater (N Bonner-Evans, 58), R Pugh.

Referee: A Rolland (Ireland).