Rugby Union: Newbridge fare no better on their return

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DEJA VU took on a particularly grim form for Heineken League strugglers Newbridge as they returned to Stradey Park a fortnight after their 67-3 Cup hammering by Llanelli and took delivery of a 53-13 nine-try beating.

The Scarlets are Wales' form team with 192 points in their last three matches and eight men in the national team to face France - who announced an unchanged XV yesterday - in Paris on Saturday. But they are only second in the league - previous leaders Cardiff fell 11-6 at Neath to let champions Swansea take over after a 25-16 win at Bridgend. Wales flanker Richard Webster (2) and the recalled Tony Clement claimed three of Swansea's five tries to end Bridgend's six-match winning run, while the much-criticised Neil Jenkins was scoring 20 points, including two tries, in Pontypridd's 30-3 defeat of Newport.

Strugglers were in spirited form in the Courage League as Gloucester's 16-12 win at Northampton and Orrell's 66-0 dismantling of Rugby eased relegation fears. Wingers Morris and Holford belied Gloucester's forward traditions with decisive tries, while Orrell wing Hamer scored four of their 11 as they sent Rugby down. Their wins negated Saracens' 41- 17 mauling of London Scottish. Both look likely to drop along with Rugby and West Hartlepool, sunk 25-13 by London Irish's second-half revival.

Waterloo needed Paul Grayson's late drop goal, completing a 20-point personal tally, to sink Sale 25-24 and stay ahead of Newcastle Gosforth, 14-3 winners over Rosslyn Park, in the Second. Morley's 28-6 loss at home to Richmond and Fylde's 37-10 defeat at Coventry confirmed their relegation to the Third and kept the victors' survival hopes alive.

No such clarity in Scotland, but Glasgow High/Kelvinside's 39-0 win over Hawick and Selkirk's 33- 10 defeat of Stirling County lifted them above County in the relegation zone and Heriot's FP's fears were banished as Kelso fell 86-8. Don't mention points difference to Stewart's Melville FP. Relegated on points last year they stay down the same way in spite of beating promoted Musselburgh 17-14. Both are tied on 22 points with West of Scotland, champions after beating Grangemouth 52-6.