Rugby Union Round-Up: Neath go marching on

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The Independent Online
THERE were few surprises in Wales. Dunvant team manager Peter Thomas claimed that his team had been looking forward to their visit to The Gnoll. It's difficult to imagine why: Neath dominated in fine style and won 26-14. Ex-Newbridge winger Alun Harries ran in two tries; the others came from Adrian Shaw and Steve Crandon - another recent recruit from Newbridge. Llanelli stormed to a 43-10 win over Cross Keys; scrum-half Huw Harries grabbed two of their six tries.

Many top English players had the day off from league duty, whether they were taking part in the divisional match that happened or were supposed to be taking part in the one that didn't. So the lower divisions hogged the limelight: Bedford of the Third shrugged off the absence of their coach Mike Rafter to defeat Havant 20-14. Rafter is playing in the Classic tournament in balmy Bermuda: he may decide to extend his stay when he discovers how well his team did without him.

Auckland, the New Zealand provincial champions, started their British tour at Old Deer Park by running in six tries and defeating Scottish Exiles 33-12. Quick and slick handling were the hallmarks of the Auckland game; by contrast the Exiles used possession wastefully. Murry Walker saved some face with three penalty goals and Nick Grecian one. Auckland, trailing 6-3 at half time, quickly moved into the lead with a try by hooker Ross Nesdale and two further touchdowns by lock Brandon Jackson took them well clear of the Exiles. Auckland's other tries came from winger Matt Brown, stand-off Mark George and flanker Mark Carter.