Tough lesson from Gibbs and Thomas

Swansea 38 Newport 14
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The Independent Online
After a poor summer for the front row union, the Canadian loose head prop, Rod Snow, at least struck a blow for his battered and bruised Springbok colleagues as he finally did what they failed to do and decked Scott Gibbs.

It was as though Os Du Randt and Ollie Le Roux, the giant South African and Natal props who were almost emasculated by Gibbs during the summer tour, were whispering in the ear of Snow to do his best, or worst, when the Swansea centre was half-held midway through the second half. Whatever it was, there was an extra spring in Snow's step as he came charging into the static Gibbs and sent him crashing to the ground with a double forearm smash.

The crowd roared their disapproval, the referee rebuked Snow and Gibbs merely got up and got on with it - another amazing psychological blow for the Welsh centre over the macho men up front. The physicality Gibbs gives to the Swansea back line will be vital if they are to maintain their drive for the domestic league crown - they top the Premier Division with nine points from two games to Cardiff's eight - and perform well in Europe.

He managed to pave the way for two tries, yet it was his Welsh team- mate, Arwel Thomas, who really stole the show. He gave the onlooking Romanian tour party, who Thomas will face for Wales on Saturday, something to think about as he waltzed through the Newport defence time after time. The cheeky No 10 helped himself to one try and made three others as he ended a highly successful evening with 13 points.

For Newport it was at least an improvement on previous seasons - they conceded 160 points on their last two visits to St Helen's - and when their injury list shortens they should be highly competitive.

Swansea: Tries Harris 2, Arnold, A Thomas, Rees, Appleyard; Conversions A Thomas 4. Newport: Tries Lewis, Llewellyn; Conversions John 2.

Swansea: L Davies; A Harris, D Weatherley, S Gibbs, R Rees; A Thomas, A Booth (Rhodri Jones 70); I Buckett (C Loader 60), G Jenkins (capt), C Anthony, P Arnold, D Niblo, R Appleyard, D Thomas, P Moriarty (Stuart Davies 67).

Newport: D Smith; A Lewis, S Webley, P Cooke (M Robinson 61), M Llewellyn; C John, B Davies; R Snow, I Jones (capt), C Johnson, G Rowlands (N Jones 71), I Gough, M Workman, R Parks, R Goodey (R Ostler 75).

Referee: N Williams (Bryncoch).

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