Rugby Union Round-up: Walker brings pace to Cardiff

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The Independent Online
NEW skills are being mastered rapidly in the Heineken First Division. Olympic hurdler Nigel Walker repaid Cardiff's faith in his conversion to winger with a hat- trick in the 39-14 victory over Newbridge while stand-in goalkicker Mark Titley landed nine conversions in Swansea's 73-24 devastation of South Wales Police. New captain Stuart Davies led the attack with a hat-trick.

NEW status is proving trickier. The Police have now conceded 156 points in three outings and fellow promotees Aberavon made Maesteg's day, allowing them only their second win in 21 First Division outings, 23-15. Narberth, by contrast, are loving every minute of their Second Division debut and an 11-6 victory over Tredegar confirmed them as early leaders.

NEW hope for London Welsh? A 31-8 Pilkington Cup victory over Havant was nominally a giant-killing on a day when results mostly went with league status. Main exception was Bradford and Bingley's 23-9 victory over Aspatria, for once receiving rather than giving early round grief. Penrith, from the confusing North West East North Division, fell 52-3 at Lichfield, but got off relatively lightly compared to Mayfield Old Boys who departed from the Provincial Insurance Cup by the little matter of 172-0 at the hands of St Albans, who scored 26 tries.

NEW beginnings for Scotland scrum-half Gary Armstrong, back after missing most of last season through injury. His form in Jed- Forest's 14-11 win over Gala reflected his comments that he feels much better for the rest.

NEW proof that sport and politics do mix. Reports in New Zealand suggest that a forthcoming Wellington by-election may be contested by two All Black scrum- halves, Chris Laidlaw (Labour) and David Kirk (National).