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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 December, 2003, 19:13 GMT
Warriors bash Blues
Blues 10-26 Celtic Warriors

MATCH FACTS
Celtic Warriors centre Gareth Thomas tormented the Blues
Blues (3) 10
Tries: R Thomas
Cons: Harris
Pens: Harris
Celtic Warriors (14) 26
Tries: G Thomas (3), C Sweeney
Cons: Sweeney
Att: 6,000
Celtic Warriors controlled from start to finish as they scored four tries to one in a 10-26 Celtic League win over the Blues at the Arms Park.

Gareth Thomas was the star of the show scoring three excellent tries, with Ceri Sweeney adding the other and kicking three conversions.

The home side lacked imagination in attack, and only managed a late push over try from replacement Rhys Thomas and a penalty kick from Iestyn Harris.

Warriors move up four places to fourth in the league, leaving the Blues to ponder another disappointing result and a worrying league position two off the bottom.

After a scoreless yet entertaining opening 15 minutes, inside centre Thomas showed all his international class to cross for the opening try.

Ideal attacking possession was secured at the back of a lineout inside Blues territory and Thomas timed his run to perfection to take Gareth Cooper's long pass.

A step off his left foot left the Blues would-be tacklers floundering, leaving Thomas with a clear run to the tryline. Sweeney converted.

Harris kicked a penalty to get the Blues on the scoreboard, but the Warriors hit back 10 minutes later with their second try.

Once again, the home side were their own worst enemy as centre Matt Allen failed to deal with Sweeney's grubber kick under the posts.

Allen's hesitancy allowed Sweeney to collect the loose ball and touch down at the foot of the post. The fly-half converted his own try to give his side a 14-3 advantage at the break.

It was a great team performance
Warriors try-scorer Gareth Thomas
The lead should have been more, but Thomas wasted a golden opportunity when he decided to go for the line himself instead of passing to Sweeney on his left shoulder.

An early second half score was essential if the Blues harboured any thoughts of launching a comeback, but it was the visitors who crossed for a third try.

Thomas again proved a class apart as he beat Rhys Williams on the outside and withstood Nicky Robinson's last-ditch tackle to ground the ball with his outstretched hand.

Sweeney landed a superb conversion from the right hand touchline.

The victory was wrapped up 15 minutes from time when Thomas completed his hat-trick and guaranteed his side a bonus point.

Cooper made the initial break and perfect handling under pressure along the backline gave Thomas the easy task of diving over.

Parker was denied a try by a superb saving tackle by Tom Shanklin before Blues replacement Rhys Thomas crossed five minutes from time, and Harris converted.


Blues: Nick Robinson; Rhys Williams, Tom Shanklin, Matt Allen, Craig Morgan; Iestyn Harris, Andrew Moore; John Yapp, Gareth Williams, Darren Crompton, Heino Senekal, Andy Moore, Jim Brownrigg, Martyn Williams (capt), Nathan Thomas.
Replacements: Kenneth Fourie, Ben Evans, Rhys Thomas, Craig Quinnell, Dan McShane, Ryan Powell, Nick Walne.

Warriors: K Morgan; D James, G Thomas, S Parker, G Wyatt; C Sweeney, G Cooper; C Loader, M Davies, G Jenkins, B Cockbain, D Jones, M Molitika, C Harris, R Parks.
Replacements: M Rees, G Morris, Harrington, N Kelly, S Martens, N Jenkins, R Bryan.

Referee: Nigel H Williams (Bryncoch)




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