Swansea comfortably beat local rivals Neath but it was not enough to save them from relegation to the Championship as Aberavon survived by gaining a bonus point in their match against Carmarthen.
It was a match that had been billed as one of the most important in the history of the All Whites and the sense of occasion didn’t disappointed with one of the largest crowds at St Helen’s for many a year.
Both sides came into the match in good form but it was the All Whites who began the brightest and when the Neath pack was driven backwards at a scrum, fly half Luke Price chipped through for centre Liam Gadd to score. Price converted.
It was then the turn of the Welsh All Blacks to mount an attack and James Thomas kicked to the corner from a penalty. However number eight Tudor Hughes stole possession to allow his side to clear.
The Neath pack were penalised for diving over the top of a ruck and Hughes took a routine lineout to create a maul from which Mathew Davies crashed over for the Whites’ second try.
Tempers started to boil over and Swansea lock Perry Parker and Neath flanker Emyr Williams were sent to the sin-bin for fighting.
The visitors had another opportunity but a chip through by scrum half Josh Davies sailed into touch on the full.
Flanker Leon Ward looked to have grabbed a try for Neath in the corner but it was disallowed after he was adjudged to have deliberately caused an obstruction in midfield.
On the stroke of half time hooker Paul John crashed over for his side’s third try following a patient build up by the forwards inside the Neath twenty-two. Price converted.
The match was held up for 10 minutes following a bad looking injury to Neath lock James Goode, and as the half time whistle sounded news filtered through from the Talbot Athletic Ground that Aberavon had scored the vital fourth try that condemned the All Whites to relegation to the Championship.
It was a bad tempered second half with a mass fight resulting in Josh Davies being handed a red card, along with prop Matthew Norman and Marc Jones yellow carded.
Midway through the half a huge scrum from the All Whites forced the Neath pack backwards giving the referee no option but to award a penalty try. Price converted.
With the crowd shellshocked from events at Aberavon the match petered out and there were no further scores in the last half hour.
The defeat condemns Swansea to the second tier of Welsh club rugby for the first ever time next season where they will face teams such as Merthyr and Glynneath.
Full time:- Swansea 26 Neath 0
Star man: Paul John
Referee: Sean Brickell
Tries:- Gadd (3), Davies (15), John (40), Penalty try (53)
Cons:- Price (4, 40+1, 54)
Y cards:- Parker (21), Norman (46)
15 Rhys Williams
14 Andrew Claypole (rep: Liam Popham 80)
13 Liam Gadd (rep: Aled Jenkins 72)
12 Jedd Evans
11 Richard Williams
10 Luke Price
9 Jake Cole (rep: Dan Brooks 74)
1 Matthew Norman (rep: Luke Myatt 74)
2 Paul John (rep: Ricky Guest 63)
3 Nicky Thomas (rep: Simon Gardiner 50)
4 Perry Parker
5 Rory Thornton (rep: Teaghan Price 74)
6 Mike Sully
7 Mathew Davies (rep: Rob Dudley Jones 80)
8 Tudor Hughes
16 Ricky Guest
17 Luke Myatt
18 Simon Gardiner
19 Teaghan Price
20 Rob Dudley Jones
21 Dan Brooks
22 Liam Popham
23 Aled Jenkins