REIGNING champions Pontypridd sent a firm message to their Principality Premiership challengers with a crushing opening day win at Llanelli – while history was made as winger Alex Webber scored the first-ever six-point try.
Centre Adam Thomas, along with Webber and full-back Geraint Walsh, bagged braces while Rhys Shellard, skipper Dafydd Lockyer and Lloyd Williams also went over the whitewash for Ponty who, at 40-8 ahead, were out of sight by the break after a dominant first half display.
Outside half Jarrod Evans added seven conversions while Trystan Lloyd, Dion Jones, Steve Shingler and Shaun Pearce repied for Llanelli to earn them a bonus point, with Shingler converting all four scores – in a game where no penalties were kicked.
Much of the talk pre-match was about the new rule changes and, in particular, the six-point try – the first change of its kind for 23 years – when tries went from four to five points back in 1992.
And, with the eyes of the rugby world on Parc y Scarlets, history was made in the sixth minute when Wales Sevens wing Webber received the ball after a lineout and darted over for that landmark score, which was converted by Evans, to make it 8-0.
And, quickly into their stride, the champions were soon over for their second try, which was this time finished off by flanker Shellard, with Evans once again taking care of the extras.
However Llanelli registered their first score of the campaign on 13 minutes following their own drive from a lineout with Lloyd forcing his way over and Shingler booting the extra two points for the hosts to halve the deficit.
However Ponty restored their two-score advantage after 22 minutes with outside centre Thomas racing through for try number three, with Evans again successful from the tee to extend the lead to 24-8.
And the champions secured their first bonus point of the campaign two minutes shy of the half-hour mark following a good team move and Thomas offloading to Walsh to dive over, Evans converting.
And a clinical first half got even better for Ponty on 38 minutes when, after Llanelli turned over possession near the Ponty 22, the visitors broke downfield with Lockyer laying the ball off for Thomas to grab his second – and Ponty’s fifth - try of the afternoon, which Evans converted to stretch the lead to 40-8 by the break.
Ponty picked up where they left off three minutes after the re-start, scoring try number six when Evans danced around three attempted tackles before laying the ball off for Lockyer to score, again converted.
Scorer then turned provider on 54 minutes as Lockyer laid off for scrum-half Williams to add converted try number seven.
Jones, Shingler and Pearce grabbed second half scores for Llanelli – all converted by Shingler – to earn them a losing bonus point – before Webber and Walsh rounded off a convincing win for Ponty.
Llanelli 32-68 Pontypridd
Scorers- Llanelli – T: T Lloyd, D Jones, S Shingler, S Pearce; C: S Shingler (4).
Pontypridd – T: A Webber (2), R Shellard, A Thomas (2), G Walsh (2), D Lockyer, L Williams; C: J Evans (7).
Courtesy Of Carl Field