Rugby Union: Pontypridd fall away


Pontypridd's Welsh title prospects were dented yesterday when they lost 31-16 at Llanelli. The home side's four tries came from Matthew Wintle, Neil Boobyer, Rupert Moon and Craig Warlow, who also kicked a penalty and four conversions after coming in as a late replacement for Frano Botica. With seven games remaining, Llanelli are now only four points behind the leaders who are struggling without their injured master goalkicker Neil Jenkins.

Dunvant's First Division future appears safe after a 27-27 draw with Cardiff. Nigel Spen-der ran in two of their four tries while Cardiff, for whom Lee Jar-vis kicked five penalties, managed only two touchdowns - by Leigh Davies and Nigel Walker. Newbridge's survival hopes have dipped, though, following their 42-26 defeat by Newport.

Steve Jones, a former Bridgend hooker, claimed the injury-time try which shaded his erstwhile team-mates 17-16 and put Ebbw Vale into their first Swalec Cup semi-final for 20 years. Byron Hayward, with four penalties, supplied Vale's other points.

Orrell look destined for relegation from Courage League One after succumbing 50-14 at home to Northampton. In addition to supplying one of the Saints' eight tries, Scotland's Gregor Townsend reminded the Lions selectors of his kicking prowess with three penalties and three conversions.

In League Two, John Steele clocked up 30 points as London Scottish thrashed Rugby 45-16 and the New Zealander Richard le Bas contributed 22 points to Moseley's 42-13 win at Wakefield. Fylde opened up a seven-point lead at the top of League Three with a hard-fought 13-9 success at London Welsh.

Dave Barrett kicked all the points, including a last-minute penalty, as West of Scotland clinched promotion to the Tennents Scottish Championship First Division by beating their main rivals Dundee HSFP 15-13.

The leaders Gauteng surrendered their unbeaten Super 12 record when they lost 37-35 to Wellington in Johannesburg. Christian Cullen, who missed the World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong through injury, celebrated his return with two of Wellington's three tries and Jon Preston kicked 22 points, including the 79th-minute penalty which secured victory. Natal beat New South Wales 28-23 in Durban and Canterbury upset Waikato 24-15 in Timaru despite trailing 10-6 at the interval and having Mark Hammett sent off for punching in the second half.

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