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PONTYPRIDD went one better than last year's Lions when they outwitted and outplayed Northern Bulls, one of South Africa's top provinces, for a famous win at muddy Sardis Road.

And the hero of the night was predictably Neil Jenkins - who slammed over six penalties and hit the post with the seventh,

A hotbed of rumour had surrounded Pontypridd all week, with Jenkins reportedly on the verge of joining Bath, Paul John on his way to Castres and Cardiff chasing coach Dennis John.

On this evidence, Ponty would badly miss them all.Certainly coach John's game-plan worked to perfection, with son Paul's quick distribution countering the giant Bulls pack.

And the muddy, wet conditions didn't stop Jenkins, who thumped over three penalties in the first half hour. The Bulls fielded 12 of the side that conquered the Lions last summer - and were in rampaging mood up front.

But Ponty held their ground and whenever they got the chance, they delighted their fans by counter-attacking, spreading the ball wide and using their quick men, Wyatt, Manley and Dafydd James to pepper the South African defence.

Jenkins had another chance to punish the Bulls after 45 minutes, but his 40-yarder rapped the upright.

In the 55th minute, however, he slammed over his fourth penalty, - and 10 minutes later the match was as good as over.

It had been hard, and physical, and Ponty had not given an inch. And South African rugby had again been given a lesson on the lethal menace of Neil Jenkins.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Godwin, Terry
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jan 18, 1998
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