Swansea revival an illusion

Newport 43 Swansea 27
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The Independent Online

Swansea's week went from bad to worse as they blew a 14-point lead to let Newport off the hook at Rodney Parade. Three days after the players were told they would have to take 50 per cent pay cuts after the club went into temporary administration, the team at least turned up and met their obligations.

Swansea's week went from bad to worse as they blew a 14-point lead to let Newport off the hook at Rodney Parade. Three days after the players were told they would have to take 50 per cent pay cuts after the club went into temporary administration, the team at least turned up and met their obligations.

More than that, they showed great character in extreme circumstances and, after wiping out a second-minute penalty by the home marksman Jason Strange, they rattled up two quickfire tries to move into a handy lead.

So much for the turmoil they were all supposed to be in. All of a sudden financial matters and contracts were banished to the back of minds and their basic rugby and sporting instincts came rushing to the fore.

No wonder Swansea's Australian coach, John Connolly, was full of praise for his players, despite their second-half collapse. "It has been a very hard week for everyone at Swansea but I thought the players were outstanding.''

Further meetings between the nine Premier Division clubs and the WRU are scheduled for this week, but there seems little hope of Llanelli, Cardiff and Pontypridd shifting their stance away from five clubs to the four provincial teams the WRU chief executive, David Moffett, is working so hard to secure.

As far as both Newport and Swansea are concerned, as confirmed by their leading officials Tony Brown and Roger Blyth before the game, four teams is the only solution for Welsh rugby.

There are enough good young players at Swansea to make their semi-professional team a viable entity, while all the uncertainty surrounding next season is leaving Newport's glittering array of overseas stars looking outside Wales for new deals.

One of those is the former South African full-back Percy Montgomery, who helped himself to two tries. The first began the revival from 14 points down and enabled Newport to reduce the deficit to just two points by the interval.

Then they notched up 20 more points without reply to put themselves firmly on top and on course for an impressive victory that finally erased the embarrassment of the first quarter.

Newport: P Montgomery; M Mostyn, J Jones-Hughes, (L Nabaro, 77), H Luscombe (J Pritchard, 55), A Cadwallader; J Strange, O Tonu'u (D Llewellyn, 70); R Snow (D Pattison, 55), P Young, C Anthony (A Garvey, 66), S Raiwalui (capt), I Gough, S Ojomoh (R Jones, 77), J Forster, A Powell (M Veater, 57).

Swansea: G Swales; R Rees, S Payne, S Winn, M Robinson; A Thomas (G Henson, 57), S Cordingley (D Piccard, 78); D Morris (capt), C Balshen (C Wells, 48), D Dorsey (S Pope, 5-7, 61), A Farley (J Slade, 78), J Thomas, R Jenkins (G Evans, 67), R Francis (R Pugh, 61), J Bater.

Referee: N Williams (Bryncoch).

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