Thomas the engine behind Welsh power

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The Independent Online
Romania 33 Wales A 42

Arwel Thomas raced 40 yards to score his side's fourth try in Bucharest and steal victory for Wales A on Saturday. That took the Swansea stand- off's points tally for the day to 20, and by the time his club-mate Rob Appleyard went over in injury time for the fifth try, Thomas was on the touchline receiving praise from his coach after being substituted.

After Lee Jarvis scored the final conversion to make victory secure, the Welsh could celebrate after trailing three times, the lead changing hands six times.

Thomas landed two early penalties to give Wales the lead, but his opposite number Neculai Nichitean converted his own try to put the home side ahead.

Paul John scored Wales' first try, yet by half-time the Romanians were back in front thanks to tries by hooker Margarit Radoi and wing Vasile Brici.

The three-point gap at the interval was stretched to 10 early in the second half when Radoi crossed again and Nichitean converted, but tries by full-back Matthew Back and replacement lock Neil Watkins got Wales back into the game.

Despite a brilliant try by young full-back Valentin Maftei which seemed to have won the day for the home team, Thomas had other ideas, and when John fed him on the home 10-metre line he sprinted away for the vital try.

Romania: Tries M Radoi 2, N Nichitean, V Brici, V Maftei; Cons N Nichitean 4. Wales A: Tries P John, M Back, N Watkins, A Thomas, R Appleyard; Cons A Thomas 3, L Jarvis; Pens A Thomas 3.

ROMANIA: V Maftei (Dinamo); L Colceriu (Steaua), G Solomie (Timisoara Uni), M Dumitru (Farul), V Brici (Farul); N Nichitean (Cluj Uni, capt), V Flutur (Cluj Uni); L Costea (Steaua), M Radoi (Dinamo), N Dragos (Steaua), V Nedelcu (Dinamo), T Brinza (Racing Club Paris), F Corodeanu (Steaua), E Septar (Farul), A Girbu (Farul). Replacements: C Gheorghe (Grivita) for Dragos 35; C Stan (Dinamo) for Costea 60; C Dragnea (Petrosani Uni) for Flutur 70.

WALES A: M Back (Swansea); G Wyatt (Pontypridd), N Boobyer (Llanelli), J Lewis (Pontypridd), R Shorney (UWIC); A Thomas (Swansea), P John (Pontypridd, capt); C Loader, G Jenkins (Swansea), L Mustoe (Cardiff), S Moore (Swansea), M Voyle (Llanelli), M Lloyd (Pontypridd), R Appleyard (Swansea), S Williams (Neath). Replacements: L Jarvis (Cardiff) for Thomas 78; N Watkins (Neath) for Moore 37-40 and 66; I Buckett (Swansea) for Loader 65; R McBryde (Llanelli) for Appleyard 56-58.

Referee: G Sciova (Italy).

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