Neath Move Into Third Place After Five Try Victory
9 February 2002 19:38
NEATH 35, BRIDGEND 21
Bridgend lost their coach Dennis John earlier in the week and they slipped to theri seventh defeat in the Welsh/Scottish League at The Gnoll as they were overpowered by five tries to two.
The departure of former Wales caretaker coach John as director of rugby last week left former Wales and Lions flanker Richard Webster in charge with Huw Bevan. They now face a massive task to rebuild a side who are now floundering three from bottom.
Neath, on the other hand, grabbed five tries in another highly competent and combative performance that brought them a seventh victory and moved them into third place in the table behind Llanelli and Newport.
Tongan centre Dave Tiueti was the chief executioner on a miserable night as he ran in a hat-trick of tries. He struck twice in the space of three minutes in the first-half to give the home team a handy start.
The first came from a set move as he came on the charge to receive from scrum half Pat Horgan and barge his way over. Then he was on hand to follow up kicks ahead by Lee Jarvis and Shane Williams to bag his second.
Neath coach Lyn Jones would have been extremely pleased with that bright opening because Neath were playing into the teeth of a huge wind in that first-half. It was so strong that Jarvis failed to convert either try.
Bridgend gradually found some composure and Craig Warlow kicked them back into contention with three successive penalties to cut the deficit to a single point after 25 minutes.
But Neath battled back to score a third try through their Fijian flanker Alfie Mocelutu and then Jarvis kicked a simple penalty from 18 metres on the stroke of half-time to make it 18-9 at the break.
It didn't help the Bridgend cause that they lost lock Keith Stewart for 10 minutes for punching six minutes before half-time and they were reduced to 13 men when prop John Tiel was given a yellow card for a similar offence moments before the break.
With the wind at the backs, Neath grew in confidence and Jarvis kicked a seocnd penalty from 40 metres before converting Tiueti's third try after some great approach work from the home pack.
Bridgend at least responded with a Gareth Thomas try at the posts which Warlow converted, but when their front row buckled twice at a five metre scrum international referee Nigel Whitehouse awarded a penalty try to which Jarvis added the extra points.
Former Neath back row man Shaun van Rensberg crossed in the right corner for Bridgend's second try in injury time, but it was much too little far too late.
SCORERS: Neath: Tries; D Tiueti 3, A Mocelutu, penalty try; Cons: L Jarvis 2; Pens: L Jarvis 2. Bridgend: Tries: G Thomas, S van Rensberg; Con:Â C Warlow; Pens: C Warlow 3.
Wales reached their first semi-final since 2013 in the opening round of this season's HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie recaps on what proved to be an eventful tournament
Wales and Ospreys back row James King, who came through the North Wales age grade system, nominated North Wales Regional Community Rugby Manager Marc Roberts, in the WRU's 'Diolch' initiative where squad players thanked those who played a part in their rise to the top.
Beating Merthyr has boosted Carmarthen Quins hopes of reaching a top eight spot in the Principality Premiership. Quins captain Haydn Pugh is delighted with his team's progress and is determined that everyone from the Under 6s through to the senior team, enjoys the ride.
When the Wales squad were asked to nominate individuals who played a big part in their early playing days, Wales and Dragons full back and wing Hallam Amos thought of his former Monmouth School rugby coach John Bevan.
Sam Cross and Luke Treharne have been named as co-captains of the Wales Sevens side as head coach Gareth Williams names his 12-man squad to play in the first leg of the HSBC World Series in Dubai next weekend.
Bedwas head coach Steve Law and players Nicky Griffiths and Alun Rees extol the virtues of the close knit club as they prepare to host third place RGC 1404 - who are one place head of them on the Principality Premiership points table - on Saturday.
Many of the Wales squad have said Diolch (thank you) to someone who played an important part in their early playing days by nominating them to be invited to the Wales v South Africa match. One person, Gowerton Comprehensive geography teacher Mr Dean Mason was nominated by two of his former pupils, Dan Biggar and Sam Davies.
The second WRU disability rugby pilot has been delivered, this time in Caerphilly schools, culminating in a festival at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach tomorrow. Plans are in place to set up a Disability Rugby Club in Newbridge to provide long-term playing opportunities.
WRU TV: Hear from inside the Wales camp as Neil Jenkins discusses this weekend's clash with South Africa and how the squad are looking to put in a strong performance to round of the 2016 Under Armour Series