Rugby Union: Two in a row for Melrose

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The Independent Online
MELROSE are the Scottish champions for the second year running after beating Currie 16-7, writes Huw Richards. Expectations of a last-day Border showdown ended as the bottom club Dundee HSFP ambushed the title rivals Gala 16-13. Gala's stumble and Edinburgh Academicals' equally surprising draw with Selkirk leave Melrose unassailable.

Repeat champions look equally likely in the Swalec Welsh Cup after a sixth round ruled by the formbook. Nowhere more than at Llanelli, who underlined their credentials for a third consecutive title by painting Stradey Park scarlet at Newbridge's expense. Ieuan Evans scored four of their 10 tries in a 67-3 victory while Swansea stayed on course for a repeat final, beating South Wales Police 27-11.

But there were mixed fortunes for Swansea's lower division suburbs. Bonymaen ended giant-killing St Peter's run 18-13 in spite of conceding the only try to Matthews, but tries proved fatal to Dunvant. Held 10-10 at home by Cross Keys the Second Division leaders went out because the visitors' scores by Glastonbury and Marshall outweighed their single effort by Morris.

Robert Howley, a likely future Wales scrum-half, crossed twice in Bridgend's 41-0 disposal of Llandovery, but Wales Past mattered more at Newport where Alun Carter crossed in the 27-11 defeat of Cardiff Quins and at Neath with Paul Thorburn kicking 10 points in a 30-7 win over Talywain.

Wales Present triumphed at Pontypool, where the outside-half Neil Jenkins celebrated his retention for next week's match with Ireland by kicking 11 points in Pontypridd's 21-18 win. His England counterpart Stuart Barnes finished a loser as Bath, watched by 8,000, fell 27-17 in the friendly at Cardiff. But he said he was fit and ready for next week's Test recall after creating a late try for his England colleague Jeremy Guscott.

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