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Unbeaten tag buried 'neath Elwood's boot.

Byline: BY IAN ROBERTS

AFTER the high of beating the Irish champions Munster, Neath were brought crashing down to earth in Galway, losing 28 - 10.

But coach Lyn Jones has promised there will be no panic measures after the Welsh All Blacks lost their unbeaten record in the Celtic League to Connacht.

Having rattled up an impressive four wins out of four before the trip to the west coast of Ireland, Neath travelled as firm favourites to become the first Welsh club to clinch a quarter-final slot in the new competition.

Now Jones and co will have to bounce back to their best when they meet Newport next weekend.

"We won't be panicking, " said Jones. "We know where we are going wrong and we can put it right.

"We have a cool determination in this squad and we will bounce back from this.

"To lose for the first time is hugely disappointing for the whole squad.

"We wanted to be the first team to qualify for the knock-out stages and the first team from Wales to reach the quarter finals.

"We have some serious work to do, but I'm sure we can put that in as we build up to the Newport game.

"That will be a massive match for us, but it was always going to be that for us anyway.

"Now it will take on added significance because there could be a home draw in the quarter finals at stake.

"Our defence let us down and our one-to-one tackling wasn't good enough. Eric Elwood really punished us with his boot.

"We had to chase the game in the second half and that is always hard to do.

"Even so, I'm pretty confident we can get this sorted out, although it will mean some serious work next week."

Although Lee Jarvis gave Neath the perfect start with a penalty after only 80 seconds, two tries in the first eight minutes from the home side gave them the upper hand in the opening exchanges. And With Elwood kicking well out of hand and off the floor, the visitors were quickly 15-3 in arrears.

A Shuan Connor try, which Jarvis converted cut the deficit, but Connacht's third try killed off any hopes of a Neath revival. Two more Elwood penalties in the second half completed the scoring and Jones will be asking some hard questions as to why his side went 40 minutes without notching a point.

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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 9, 2001
Words:409
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