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BBC Wales' David Parry Jones
Match report
 real 14k

Arwel Thomas with David Parry Jones
"It would have been cruel if they'd scored at the end"
 real 14k

Man of the match Mark Taylor
"We made things difficult for ourselves"
 real 56k

banner Saturday, 14 October, 2000, 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
Swansea win last-gasp thriller
Swansea's Arwel Thomas
Arwel Thomas: Three drop goals gave Swansea victory
Heineken Cup, Pool 2
Swansea 18-16 Stade Francais

Swansea won an incident-packed battle at St Helens, finishing just two points clear of a marauding Stade Francais side.

After an incredible 10 minutes of injury time, Stade scored a last-gasp try and Diego Dominguez had a conversion attempt which would have tied the scores.

He missed, however, and Swansea held the ball until referee Ed Morrison's final whistle.

Swansea had fly-half Arwel Thomas to thank for their victory.

He kicked three drop goals in the last twenty minutes, and contributed all of Swansea's points, to drag his team from 11-3 down into an 18-11 advantage.

Swansea played most of the second half without flanker Colin Charvis, who was sent off for a late challenge on Dominguez.

Charvis receives a two match ban and will miss the home and away games against Italian side L'Aquilla, who conceded over 90 points against Stade Francais last week.

They coped with his absence admirably, however, added determination covering their numerical disadvantage in the pack.

First half

Stade Francais had taken the lead in wet and difficult conditions at St Helens, Diego Dominguez stroking a penalty over after eight minutes.

The opening twenty minutes were largely a scrappy affair, but Garin Jenkins' sin-binning provided the French side with an opening.

Stade Francais centre Franck Comba
Comba scored Stade's first try

Given ten minutes for questioning the referee's decision, Stade Francais immediately exploited their numerical advantage.

Moving right, fly-half Dominguez gave a neat flick pass to centre Franck Comba, who scythed through the All Whites' defence to score the game's opening try.

Frustration

Ten minutes later Dominguez put his side 11-0 up with another penalty, as Swansea's attacking instincts were frustrated by the French and by the conditions.

They finally got points on the board, when Arwel Thomas kicked two penalties late in the half.

Swansea's best chance of the half went begging, however, when Arwel Thomas broke the Stade defence only to send the try-scoring pass over centre Mark Taylor's head.

Second half

The second half got underway in dramatic fashion with Swansea once more guilty of squandering a gilt-edged try-scoring opportunity.

Welsh international Mark Taylor went on a storming run through mid field, breaking tackles and setting up the ruck just feet short of Stade Francais' tryline.

The resulting possession was wasted, however, as a wide pass missed all possible recipients before crossing the touchline.

Then Colin Charvis was sent off for Swansea after appearing to make a late challenge on Diego Dominguez.

The decision looked to be harsh - as contact seemed to be minimal - but Swansea picked themselves up.

Even with 14 men they appeared to cause an increasingly disorganised Stade side problems and slowly gained the advantage in terms of possession and territory.

Drops

An Arwel Thomas drop goal after 25 minutes of the second half gave Swansea the lead for the first time in the match.

Then, with just two minutes remaining of the 80, Thomas slotted another drop goal - this time from a difficult angle on the right hand side of the pitch to give Swansea a four point cushion.

Still Stade came at the All Whites, however, and Stade hooker Lambreau scored to jangle the home supporters' nerves.

Swansea held out, however, with Thomas' third drop proving the decisive score.


Scorers - Swansea: Pens: A. Thomas 3. Drop Goals: A. Thomas 3.

Scorers - Stade Francais: Tries: Comba, Landreau. Pens: Dominguez 2.

Att: 4,500

Team

Swansea: D Weatherly, S Payne, M Taylor, S Gibbs (capt), M Robinson, A Thomas, R Jones, D Morris, G Jenkins, B Evans, T Maullin, A Moore, G Lewis, H Jenkins, C Charvis
Replacements: G Henson, C Rees, S Martens, C Wells, C Anthony, J Griffiths, D Thomas

Stade Francais: Mason, Lima, Comba, Mytton, Poulain, Dominguez, Lassucq, Marconnet, Landreau, De Villiers, Auradou, James, Moni, Pool-Jones, Juillet (capt)
Replacements: Blin, Collazo, Noriega, Williams, Tabacco, Lombard, Dominici

Referee: Ed Morrison (RFU)

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