Rugby Union: Glory day for Ebbw and Newport

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The Independent Online
A SEASON of Welsh underachievement continued yesterday when the champions Pontypridd and league leaders Swansea crashed to defeat in the Swalec Cup against Newport and Ebbw Vale who will now face each other in the semi-finals on the weekend of 25-26 April.

Shaun Connor, the Newport fly-half, sealed a 29-27 victory two minutes from time with a drop goal which boosted his tally of points during the match to 19. Earlier, Newport, the Premier Division's bottom club and without a league win all season, claimed two tries through Ian Gough and Matthew Watkins while the visitors, who led 27-20 after an hour, replied with touchdowns from Dafydd James, Kevin Morgan and Gareth Wyatt. All were converted by Neil Jenkins who also landed two penalties.

Last night Ebbw Vale, who had eliminated the holders Cardiff in the previous round, continued their impressive giant-killing run with a 27-13 success against Swansea after reaching the interval only 14-13 ahead. Lenny Woodard, David Llewellyn and Kingsley Jones all went over for Vale, whose scoring was completed by three conversions and two penalties from Byron Hayward. John Evans supplied the All Whites' lone try and Arwel Thomas kicked the rest of their points.

Shannon claimed their fourth successive AIB League crown in Ireland with a 19-17 win at Terenure to finish five points ahead of Garryowen.

Wasps' campaign to secure their Allied Dunbar Premiership One future continues today against Harlequins at Loftus Road. Defeat last week by Newcastle deepened the champions' plight, and they are still without their England backs, Alex King and Andy Gomarsall, and the Irish centre Rob Henderson. Quins' French fly-half Thierry Lacroix is also out with a knee injury.

Having been confirmed as Premiership Two champions, Bedford's halo slipped after 18 consecutive league wins when they lost 18-17 at Rotherham. London Scottish, for whom Conan Sharman went over twice, stayed second after beating Fylde 22-7 and third-placed West Hartlepool, with Emmet Farrell providing a brace of tries, maintained their promotion challenge with a 51-6 win at Waterloo.

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