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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 April, 2003, 15:40 GMT 16:40 UK
Monty boots Newport to final
PRINCIPALITY CUP SEMI-FINAL
Percy Montgomery was on target nine times
Bridgend (13) 23
Tries: C Warlow, G Thomas. Cons: G Cull (2). Pens: Cull (3).
Newport (15) 27
Pens: P Montgomery (9).
Att: 15,800

Percy Montgomery's flawless kicking display booked Newport's place in the Principality Cup final.

The former South Africa full-back scored all his side's points to secure a tense 27-23 semi-final win over Bridgend at the Millennium Stadium.

Craig Warlow and Gareth Thomas scored tries for Bridgend, but Montgomery's boot ultimately won the day.

The lead changed hands six times throughout an untidy game, but Bridgend's indiscipline proved to be their downfall.

Newport took an early six point lead through the first two of Montgomery's nine penalties.

But Bridgend, winners in the side's three previous meetings this season, hit back immediately with 10 unanswered points.

Full-back Gareth Cull opened their account with a penalty, and then fly-half Warlow crossed for the first try of the match.

Flanker Maama Molitika tied up the Newport tacklers with a surging run towards the posts and Warlow eventually benefited from a clear overlap on the left flank to score. Cull converted.

A third Montgomery penalty brought Newport back to within a point, but Cull soon restored his side's advantage with a penalty of his own.

Newport struggled to seriously threaten the Bridgend tryline, but they were happy to take advantage of the Bridgend pack's indiscipline to rattle up the points and ultimately take the lead.

Montgomery maintained his unerring accuracy with two further penalties in the space of two minutes to leave the match delicately poised at 15-13 at the break.

A sixth Montgomery penalty opened an eight point lead, but just when Newport looked to be taking control of proceedings, Bridgend scored their second try.

Bridgend's Gareth Thomas
Gareth Thomas celebrates his try in customary fashion

Number eight Richard Bryan charged down Shane Howarth's kick, and even though Montgomery recovered to reach the ball first, ferocious rucking by the Bridgend forwards ensured a turnover.

Quick passing across the three-quarter line gave Thomas a yard of space, and the centre took full advantage by outpacing lock Mike Voyle on the outside to run in unopposed.

Cull's conversion put the Ravens two points ahead.

The lead lasted less than ten minutes, though, as Thomas went from hero to villain as he conceded a stupid penalty to allow Montgomery to kick his seventh penalty.

But back came Bridgend with a Cull penalty to ensure a nail-biting final 20 minutes for the sparse crowd.

Neither side looked capable of scoring a try, so it was left to Montgomery's sweet left foot to decide the outcome.

He made no mistake from two more opportunities in the final five minutes of normal time.

Cull missed a kickable penalty soon afterwards, but Newport gave their opponents no more chances and held out to reach a second Welsh Cup final in three years.


Bridgend: G Cull; P Jones, G Thomas (capt), S Taumalolo, R Mustoe; C Warlow, H Harries; C Loader, A Joy, C Horsman, D Jones, N Budgett, M Molitika, C Harris, R Bryan.
Replacements: P Booth, J Thiel, B Phillips, R Jones, S van Rensburg, J Donovan, M James.

Newport: P Montgomery; A Cadwallader, J Jones-Hughes, J Pritchard, L Nabaro; S Howarth, O Tonu'u; R Snow, P Young, C Anthony, S Raiwalui (capt), M Voyle, I Gough, S Ojomoh, J Forster.
Replacements: N Brew, J Strange, D Llewellyn, A Garvey, J Richards, M Veater, R Jones.

Ref: Paul Adams (WRU)




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Bridgend's Gareth Thomas
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