Neath won their pre-season friendly at Cwmgors by the compelling margin of 89-7 but the score-line conceals how hard they were made to battle by the home side who kept their Premiership visitors in check for fully 30 minutes.
Cwmgors fought hard as they marked the unveiling of their splendidly levelled pitch but ultimately Neath, fielding as selected, were too slick a unit for the brave Division 2 West side.
The final score indicates that the new-look Welsh All Blacks took command but Cwmgors showed plenty of early endeavour to keep the score down to 14-7 after the first half hour.
Neath had opened up with two quick converted tries but, when home centre Mike Hodges intercepted and ran in under the posts for a home try that outside-half Steffan Rees converted, the game was on.
Gradually, Neath built some impressive patterns into their play – ball in hand was the order of the day and the visitors stepped up the tempo to keep a goodly and appreciative crowd entertained.
All in all, Neath crossed for 13 tries. Flankers James Bain and Gareth Beer got two apiece and there were one each from winger Josh Jones, No.8 Steffan Jones, outside-half Sam Withers, mobile front-rower Aaron Coundley, full back Ashley Evans and replacements Leon Ward, Chris Morgans, Kylam Austin and Jonny Griffiths.
The score was inflated by the top-class goal-kicking – 12 of the tries were converted by outside-halves Iwan Evans (8) and Sam Withers (4).
Neath coach Patrick Horgan said, “After a slow start, we managed to build some momentum into our game and we have plenty to work on in training this week. We were very happy with some of the newcomers who did enough to earn further appearances while it was good to see a couple of the returnees full of running too.”
“We now move on to Glynneath next Saturday and the Championship side will be an altogether tougher proposition – but it was a good start and full marks to Cwmgors for their effort throughout.”
Neath – Ashley Evans; Ian Ellis, Ryan Evans, Aaron Bramwell, Josh Jones; Sam Withers, Tom James (captain); Roy Jones, Aaron Coundley, Owen Jordan; Rhys Jones, Jon Barley; Jack Davies, Steffan Jones, Gareth Beer
Replacements (all played) – Dean Howell, Kylam Austin, Iwan Evans, Chris Morgans, Ieuan Dobbs, Nicky Downs, Jonny Griffiths, James Locke, Leon Ward, Calum Davies, James Bain