Rugby Union / Round-Up: Aberavon bow to flower power

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The Independent Online
TWENTY-ONE this year, and the Swalec Welsh Cup celebrated with a day of shocks, including one of the greatest upsets in its history. Fleur-de-Lys sound about as much like a Welsh rugby club as Dewi Morris sounds like an England scrum-half, but were far too convincing for First Division Aberavon in yesterday's fourth- round tie, bridging a five-league status gap to win 9-5 and earn a fifth round shot at Bridgend.

Elsewhere, five Second Division clubs lost to lower-status opponents. If anyone was happier than Fleur-de-Lys it was Third Division St Peter's, from the Cardiff suburb of Roath, who made Narberth look more vulnerable than any of their Second Division rivals have managed, winning 22-8, and were then drawn away to Cardiff. Llanharan, long-accustomed to the David role, saw life from Goliath's perspective as they became the latest victims of Tondu's lack of deference, losing 17-9 at home. Talywain saw off Ebbw Vale 16-15 while two West Wales giantkillers earned the right to play each other in the next round - Bonymaen disposed of Abertillery 23-8 while Trimsaran, Jonathan Davies' home territory, beat troubled Glamorgan Wanderers 13-3.

No shocks at Llanelli, where St Alban's were beaten 54-3, except the jolt for the Welsh selectors as Davies' current successor as Scarlets and Wales outside-half Colin Stephens was taken to hospital after being tackled into the crowd. The holders now travel to Kenfig Hill who beat Kidwelly 25-7. Swansea were even more dismissive of Abercynon, scoring 11 tries in a 75-0 canter to earn a visit to Tenby United, who squeezed out Penarth 19-16.

Newport - losers many years ago to Penclawdd - rediscovered a distaste for the West Wales Rugby Union as they struggled to see off Amman United 8-6, and won't much fancy a trip to Pontypool United, who beat Blaenau Gwent 34-8.

GOOD news for Northern Ireland - but just as predictable as most of the bad news. Ulster clinched their eighth consecutive Irish provincial title and took their unbeaten run to 29 matches when they beat Leinster 12-8 in Belfast. Irish Exiles, who pushed Ulster hard last week at Rosslyn Park, finished their debut season with a 50 per cent record by beating Connacht 17-12 in Galway.

DEJA VU in the County Championship with three of last season's semi-finalists qualifying again. Yorkshire, who beat Northumberland 27-11, face the long trip to Cornwall, who beat Hampshire 12-9. The holders, Lancashire, 20-0 winners over Cumbria, will be at home to the only newcomers, Middlesex, who qualified by hammering Surrey 54-8.

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