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Neath coach Lyn Jones
"We didn't really give them any avenues of attack"
 real 14k

BBC Wales Sports' Gareth Charles
"It was almost a throwback to the old Neath"
 real 14k

Sunday, 25 March, 2001, 17:32 GMT 18:32 UK
Sinkinson turns the screw
Greg Miller
Greg Miller finds his way blocked by Bridgend
Bridgend 21-23 Neath

Neath claimed a place in the Principality Cup semi-finals against Swansea by systematically dismantling hosts Bridgend up front in an exciting, bruising encounter at the Brewery Field.

"We played a basic game of crash-down and drive, which paid off and shut out Bridgend," Neath coach Lyn Jones said.

"Any victory is good but Bridgend have been the form team and they beat us earlier in the season in the league - so it was a tap on the back for our boys.

"If it had been at home it might have been a cricket score, such was our dominance - so it was a job well done today."

Neath claimed their first try midway through the first half from a lineout and drive that allowed prop Andrew Millward to squirt over for a 7-8 lead and then started to turn the screw.


All credit to Neath for denying us any ball to play the wide game
  Dennis John
Bridgend coach
Bridgend had started well when a slick backs move after only five minutes took them to within striking distance.

John Devereux and Adrian Durston combined well in midfield and their efforts set up Craig Warlow who went over for the opening score, the fly-half converting his own try.

Warlow's opposite number Greg Miller opened his account for the afternoon with a penalty after Bridgend's No 8 Shaun van Rensburg was sent to the sin bin.

Rewarded

With Bridgend now outnumbered as well as outmuscled in the pack, Millward's try was only a matter of time.

As Neath took control in the second half, hooker Mefin Davies notched another try from a close-range lineout.

Gareth Morris is collared by John Devereux
Gareth Morris is collared by John Devereux
Bridgend grabbed a breakaway score, courtesy of Van Rensburg, but the revival was short-lived as a second Miller penalty restored Neath's lead.

The visitors were rewarded for their dominance when Brett Sinkinson crossed for a score that effectively ended Bridgend's Cup hopes.

Sinkinson was sin-binned soon after, but although the hosts threw themselves a late lifeline when Devereux set up a fine try for replacement Richard Bryan, it was too little too late.

Bridgend coach Dennis John can now focus on securing a top-five Welsh-Scottish League finish to earn a Heineken Cup slot next season.

"The tie was won and lost up front - and all credit to Neath for denying us any ball to play the wide game that is our strength," John said.

"But we will not dwell on defeat and must win our next game against Pontypridd to get back on the rails."


Bridgend: Tries: Warlow, Van Rensburg, Bryan. Cons: Warlow 3.

Neath: Tries: M Davies, Millward, Sinkinson. Con: Miller. Pens: Miller 2.

Att: 2,800

Teams -

Bridgend: S Taumalolo; G Jones, J Devereux, A Durston, M Peters; C Warlow, H Harries (capt); R Price, C Hawkins, A Griffiths, P Clapham, C Stephens, M Molitika, S van Rensburg, J Ringer.
Replacements: O Lloyd, L Mustoe, Clark, R Bryan, S Hill, J Hewlett, J Funnell.

Neath: G Morris; K James, J Storey, T Davies, S Williams; G Miller, P Horgan; D Jones, M Davies, A Millward, S Martin, G Llewellyn (capt), K Tuipulotu, R Phillips, B Sinkinson.
Replacements: A Booth, D Pugh, S Jones, R Francis, A Jackson, P Jones, A Howell.

Referee: Nigel Williams (Bryncoch).

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See also:

23 Mar 01 |  Wales
Plumtree backs Gibbs
21 Mar 01 |  Wales
Howells lays his plans
20 Mar 01 |  Welsh-Scottish Rugby
Neath retain Sinkinson's services
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