Rugby Union Round-Up: Moore joy for Cardiff

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The Independent Online
SERIOUS challengers or fixture-list fortunate? Cardiff's status remains unclear in spite of their fourth consecutive Heineken League First Division win, 21-11 at Maesteg. South Wales Police should become victims number five next week, but Cardiff have yet to face any of the league's major powers and the trip to Llanelli on Saturday week will provide the first searching test of their credentials. Thomas and Moore claimed the decisive first-half tries.

NEATH, still in step with Swansea and Cardiff at the top, did their demolition work after the interval, with Jason Ball claiming two of their four second-half tries and 20 points in the 32-6 defeat of Newport. There was little Second Division evidence that the five-point try is encouraging open rugby - Narberth, Dunvant and Cross Keys all won to retain their 100 per cent records but their opponents' lines remained inviolate.

NO SUCH austerity from Courage champions Bath, whose five tries against London Irish included two in the first quarter from the prop Victor Ubogu, just back from injury. Exiles stayed in contention until a late Bath deluge sealed a 42-16 win.

THE England lock Martin Bayfield left Northampton's match with Saracens following a first-half asthma attack, but reported feeling fine afterwards. The wingers Thorneycroft and Packman scored the tries as his team-mates hung on for a 21-17 victory. Bristol away will have been on West Hartlepool's list of matches they must win to ensure League One survival - Ralph Knibbs's try helped make certain they didn't, going down 19-11.

TWENTY-NINE months and 24 matches after their last Courage victory, Liverpool St Helens did it again - winning their League Three debut 21-3 against Broughton Park. Rugby at least is on the up on Merseyside - Waterloo beat Coventry 32-6 to make it two out of two in League Two.