New blow for Wales as Taylor limps off

Click to follow

Adam Jackson certainly left his mark on this game. Sent to the sin bin for felling Paul Moriarty with a forearm smash in the first half, he was sent off for a second yellow card offence after the interval. However, his biggest indiscretion came when he blatantly stamped on the thigh of the Wales centre, Mark Taylor, an incident that went unpunished.

The onlooking Wales coach, Graham Henry, must have been beside himself when he saw a very unhappy Taylor limping off moments later. Having lost his full-back Matt Cardey with concussion during Llanelli's WRU Challenge Cup quarter-final triumph over Newport the day before, he might now find himself robbed of another key man for Saturday's Six Nations finale against Ireland.

Thankfully, centre is a position in which Henry has a wealth of experience and talent to call on, not least Scott Gibbs. But quite who will replace Cardey in Dublin is anyone's guess - Steve Jones or Neil Jenkins perhaps.

It was not just Jackson who incurred the wrath of the referee, Paul Adams. Sticking rigidly to the letter of the law regarding persistent infringement, he also dispatched Swansea's Darren Morris and Neath's Robbie Jones to the bin for killing the ball.

If they were debatable decisions then nobody complained about Garin Jenkins' departure near the end of the first half for a vicious swinging arm tackle that would surely have decapitated Dave Tueiti had he connected.

Swansea, the Cup holders, were full value for a victory which puts them into a semi-final showdown with Pontypridd at the Millennium Stadium on 22 April, a game which will follow the first semi-final between Ebbw Vale and Llanelli.

Swansea dominated the first half as they embarrassed the home team with their powered set-piece and fluent approach in the backs. Matthew Robinson ran in a scorcher of a try from 45 metres and fellow wing Shaun Payne grabbed another as the All Whites raced into a 19-3 interval lead.

Neath, however, responded with a try by the new Wales wing, Shane Williams, and by midway through the second period they had cut the deficit to three points.

Now it was Swansea's turn to sweat as Neath went in for the kill. The heavens opened, the conditions deteriorated and Swansea were thankful they had Arwel Thomas in their side.

The former Wales stand-off kept his nerve at his old stamping ground, kicked two more penalties and ended Neath's resistance with a try in injury-time which he also converted for a match-winning tally of 25 points.

Neath: Try S Williams; Conversion C Rees; Penalties C Rees 4. Swansea: Tries M Robinson, S Payne, A Thomas; Conversion A Thomas; Penalties A Thomas 6.

Neath: D Tueiti; D Williams, T Davies (K James, 35-39), J Storey (K James, 77), S Williams; C Rees, R Jones (A Jacobs, 72); D Jones, S Jones (M Davies, 41), A Millward, A Jackson, A Codling, R Phillips (capt, S Martin, 80), S Van Rensberg, B Sinkinson.

Swansea: K Morgan; S Payne, S Gibbs (capt), M Taylor (D Weatherley, 60), M Robinson; A Thomas, A Booth (R Jones, 62); D Morris, G Jenkins, B Evans, T Maullin (J Griffiths, 66), A Moore (L Jones, 77), P Moriarty (C Wells, 40-50), C Charvis, D Thomas (J Evans, 60-70)

Referee: P Adams (Ebbw Vale).

Comments