Swansea 54

Glasgow Caley 10

A title clinched against Scottish opposition and won in Scotland. That, effectively, is what Swansea laid claim to at St Helens on Saturday as they became Scottish/Welsh League champions.

They and Cardiff have had identical records against Welsh opposition this season, the ultimate difference between the two being that Swansea won both their matches in Scotland, the only Welsh club to do so.

Furthermore, it was acknowledged in the match programme that the Reds surprising win at Newport last month, which killed off their title challenge, had contributed hugely to the Swansea cause.

''At the time of that result, all connected with Swansea Rugby Football Club were truly grateful to our Celtic cousins, but I'm sure they will realise our gratitude will not extend into the match today,'' read the accurate prediction.

The All-Whites duly went out and earned their title-sealing win in emphatic fashion against a Reds side which became ever more makeshift as the match went on, a point driven home by their umpteenth reshuffle being prompted when Scott Hutton replaced Fraser Stott in the dying moments.

In all it should have been a wonderful occasion for the home club, yet it was all strangely subdued and it was evident that for the most part - as reflected in the fact that the match was not switched to the live TV evening slot - the message has not filtered through in Wales that this might be the clincher.

Television viewers did witness the decisive moments, but that, too, was anti-climactic bearing in mind that it was Cardiff's defeat by Llanelli which ultimately forced them to hand their crown to Swansea.

Doubtless, the fact that Swansea's supporters were left in limbo as they made a half-hearted pitch invasion, the title win could not be confirmed, contributed to the low-key celebrations.

However, John Plumtree, Swansea's Kiwi coach, suggested that further reason for a lack of real euphoria at the end of a season which had promised even better when his side beat Stade Francais and Wasps in their first two European Cup ties.

''It is a big achievement to win this league, but our prime goal was success in Europe,'' he explained.

The match offered a demonstration of why the Reds, now a formidable force at home, have made little discernible impression on the title race.

Once again they travelled south without several key players and, once again, when removed from home comforts, their inexperience was exposed.

Weak defending led to all but one of the four first-half tries as Colin Charvis, the new British Lions recruit, was followed over the line by Geraint Lewis, Steve Winn, and Matthew Robinson.

Any suggestion of a comeback was then killed off shortly after the break when Tommy Hayes inadvertently delivered a perfect pass for Geraint Lewis to intercept at full throttle and charge 60 metres for his second score.

That came during a third quarter in which the visitors dominated possession but had only a try by Andy Henderson, breaking clear in midfield, to show for it.

When Swansea did eventually get back downfield, Sililio Martens, their handful of a Tongan scrum half, again far too easily carved his way through the visiting defence after taking a tap penalty on the 22, while late tries for Shaun Payne and David Weatherly completed the celebrations.

This Scottish/Welsh League has been a worthwhile exercise for players, if not promotion of the sport, but a side benefit which has emerged is that the people of South Wales now seem to be getting the benefit of The Herald's rugby coverage.

Indeed, response to it made up a huge chunk of those aforementioned programme notes, the editor observing that ''Gordon Bulloch was in the eyes of many (most notably John Beattie) unlucky not to make the Lions tour party ahead of Wales' Robin McBryde, they may have a point.''

As to our John's more general comments on the Lions selection regarding the general attitude of Welsh players as Lions tourists, they invited Graham Price, of Pontypool front-row fame and another 1983 Lions tourist, to respond by suggesting that ''Beattie wasn't the greatest himself.''

Ah well, travel broadens the mind they say, but it is fair to acknowledge that while helping inspire such cross-Border debate, these repeated trips to South Wales have not been entirely stimulating.

Still, all concerned should look forward to the enhanced challenge that will be the Celtic League, with further opportunities to exchange views and share experiences in a bid to improve it.

After all, in keeping with Plumtree's observations, this has been a worthwhile competition, but it has hopefully merely served as preparation for something much bigger and better.

Swansea - K Morgan (M Robinson 11); R Rees, S Winn (C Rees 57), D Weatherley, S Payne; G Henson, S Martens (R Jones 70); D MorS Payne; G Henso, S Mitchell (B Evans 77), B Evans (C Anthony 57), T Maullin, A Moore (J Griffiths 62), C Charvis, D Thomas (P Moriarty 62), G Lewis.

Glasgow Caledonian Reds - B Irving (K Sinclair 48); I McInroy (A Henderson 40), A Bulloch, J Stuart, R Kerr (S Longstaff 19); T Hayes, F Stott (S Hutton 77); G McIlwham, G Bulloch, L Harrison (A Watt 63), G Perrett, C Stewart, G Simpson (G Flockhart 66), D Macfadyen, J Petrie.

Referee: H Watkins (Wales).

Scoring sequence (Swansea first): 7-0, 7-3, 14-3, 21-3, 26-3 (half-time); 33-3, 33-10, 40-10, 47-10, 54-10.

Scorers: Swansea: Tries - Charvis (3), Lewis (22, 46), Winn (25), Robinson (40), Martens (61), Payne (74), Weatherley (80). Conversions - Henson (3, 22, 25, 46), Rees (61, 74, 80). Reds: Try - Henderson (50). Conversion - Hayes (50). Penalty - Hayes (6).