Swansea gloom

Llanelli 13 Swansea 3
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The Independent Online
YOU CAN almost guarantee that some fur will fly whenever the Turks play the Jacks, as Llanelli and Swansea are known locally. They are only 11 miles apart and have been playing each other since 1876, a total of 348 games.

Yesterday's was another bitterly fought game and Swansea established the atmosphere when they hit the first ruck venomously to cause a flare- up. The sense of grievance and niggle endured throughout the rest of the afternoon.

Being beaten by Llanelli is always a source of gloom in Swansea, but coming to grief only three days before the European Cup game against Castres on Tuesday, when they needed a confidence-boosting win, was doubly hurtful to Swansea. They won most of the ball during the first half but all their possession was to no avail as time and again their hands let them down in the three-quarters. Perhaps bad eyesight and not handling was to blame: it was, after all, the murkiest of November afternoons.

If Swansea lacked a strategy, Llanelli were firmly convinced that the counter-attack was their best ploy, and a good job they made of it.

Swansea opened the scoring with a penalty goal by Aled Williams, and Llanelli responded 10 minutes later with one of their own from Matthew McCarthy. Then from a drop-out the Llanelli flanker Paul Morris made an initial run and passed to the centre Matthew Wintle, who weaved his way through to the posts where he fed Julian Williams, who was up in support. The No 8 crashed over the line for what was to be a crucial try, converted by McCarthy.

The first half had been a fairly even contest. But standards deteriorated in the second half. This was a chapter of missed penalties, and neither side made much impression on the other as the game became no more than a hard slog in the mud.

There was another punch-up and both captains were warned, and then Alan Reynolds foolishly late-tackled Justin Thomas and McCarthy, who had only managed to kick two penalties out of eight throughout the afternoon, landed his second to seal Swansea's fate.

It was a hard physical encounter that would have been of little value for coaching purposes.

Llanelli: J Thomas; I Evans, N Boobyer, M Wintle, W Proctor; M McCarthy, R Moon; R Evans, R McBryde, S John, P Davies (capt), P Jones, O Lloyd, J Williams, P Morris.

Swansea: S Flowers; S Davies, M Taylor, D Wea-therley, R Boobyer; A Williams (capt), R Jones; K Colclough, G Jenkins, R Shaw, S Moore, A Moore, A Reynolds, C Charvis, R Appleyard.

Referee: T Rowlands (WRU).

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