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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 May, 2003, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Llanelli clinch Cup triumph
PRINICPALITY CUP FINAL
Llanelli's Mark Jones races away to score the first try of the match
Llanelli (10) 32
Tries: M Jones (2), L Davies, S Finau. Cons: S Jones (3). Pens: S Jones (2)
Newport (9) 9
Pens: P Montgomery (2). Drop-goals: Montgomery
Att: 27,500
Llanelli were crowned Welsh Cup champions for a record 12th time after running away a disappointing final at the Millennium Stadium.

A match short on tension and quality was illuminated by two tries from Mark Jones before a couple of late tries put the result beyond doubt.

Newport never threatened Llanelli's tryline and had to rely on the boot of Percy Montgomery for their points.

Montgomery, whose nine penalty kicks booked their place in the final, settled some early nerves with three points after just 90 seconds of play.

Stephen Jones soon hit back with a penalty of his own to level the scores, but then missed two similarly straightforward chances to take the lead.

Llanelli enjoyed a monopoly of possession in the opening 20 minutes and more accurate passing by the backs would have led to the opening score.

When Newport finally got their hands on the ball, they played to their obvious strength among the forwards and attempted to barge their way through Llanelli's defence.

The tactic worked to some extent as Scott Quinnell was caught offside in kickable position.

I was delighted with the last 15 minuites
Llanelli director of rubgy
Gareth Jenkins
Montgomery only managed to hit the post from the resulting kick; but the South African soon atoned for his miss with a majestic drop-goal from over 40 yards out.

Quinnell was fortunate to escape a yellow card when he conceded another penalty on the half hour mark.

But Montgomery ensured Newport gained some advantage by adding another three points to the score.

Just when the Black and Ambers looked to be beginning to control the match, a telegraphed pass from Shane Howarth led to Llanelli's opening try.

Flanker David Hodges read the move and intercepted Howarth's attempted pass and then passed to winger Mark Jones who sprinted half the length of the field to score.

Stephen Jones' added the conversion but his third missed penalty of the half meant Newport trailed by just a point at the interval.

Llanelli's Salesi Finau breaks through Shane Howarth's tackle
Finau put the icing on the cake with Llanelli's fourth try
Llanelli began the second half with their tails up, but again poor passing brought promising openings to an untidy end.

The match then descended into an ugly spectacle as some players decided to they favoured boxing to rugby.

Llanelli lock Chris Wyatt left the field with a nasty cut above his eye after a skirmish with Chris Anthony, but the referee decided to keep his red and yellow cards firmly in his pocket.

Unfortunately for the crowd under the closed stadium roof, the quality of the punches was as poor as the quality of the rugby.

But with 20 minutes to go, Llanelli's backs finally showed their superiority to create a second try for Jones.

Replacement Salesi Finau did the damage with a surging run in midfield and Jones stepped off his left foot to slide over. The conversion took Llanelli eight points clear.

Jones added another three points with his second penalty to put the result beyond doubt before two injury-time tries gave Llanelli their greatest winning cup final margin.

Captain Leigh Davies and Finau crossed to give a rather flattering final score but nonetheless a deserved victory.


Llanelli: Barry Davies; Mark Jones, Matthew J Watkins, Leigh Davies, Garan Evans; Stephen Jones, Guy Easterby; Iestyn Thomas, Robin McBryde, John Davies, Vernon Cooper, Chris Wyatt, David Hodges, Simon Easterby, Scott Quinnell.
Replacements: Martyn Madden, Aled Gravelle, Luke Gross, Ian Boobyer, Dwayne Peel, Gareth Bowen, Salesi Finau.

Newport: Percy Montgomery; Matt Mostyn, Jason Jones-Hughes, Jon Pritchard, Alex Cadwallader; Shane Howarth, Ofisa Tonu'u; Rod Snow, Paul Young, Chris Anthony, Simon Raiwalui (capt), Mike Voyle, Ian Gough, Jason Forster, Steve Ojomoh.
Replacements: Adrian Garvey, James Richards, Matthew Veater, Rhys Jones, David Llewellyn, Jason Strange, Nathan Brew.

Ref: Nigel H Williams (WRU)




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