Rugby Union: Yapp lifts Bedford

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The Independent Online
BEDFORD KEPT alive their hopes of avoiding relegation from Allied Dunbar Premiership One with a spirited 19-15 home victory yesterday over struggling Gloucester.

Following Jonny Wilkinson's virtuoso performance for England against France last weekend, 21-year-old Tony Yapp proved there is more than one young fly-half in English rugby who is capable of kicking under pressure by landing four penalties and converting a try by the hooker Aaron Davies.

Even though Gloucester produced two touchdowns - from the England A lock Mark Cornwell and their player-coach Philippe Saint-Andre - they still slid to their 10th defeat in 11 league awaydays this season.

Mark Mapletoft, on as a replacement for Simon Mannix, missed two late penalties which would have swung the match Gloucester's way. However, one worrying development for Bedford, and indeed Scotland, was the loss of their lock Scott Murray with a collarbone injury.

Bristol remained top of Premiership Two with a 25-6 success at London Welsh which in effect ends the Exiles' title aspirations. Luke Nabaro, the Hong Kong wing who ran in five tries on his debut against Blackheath a fortnight ago, crossed twice for the visitors. With Worcester facing an awkward visit to Leeds this afternoon, Rotherham moved into second place behind Bristol on points difference with a 33-10 victory at Rugby. Dean Lax, with two tries, boosted his league tally to 12 while the division's leading try scorer, Ben Wade, also went over for his 14th of the season.

There were surprise home wins for the bottom pair, Fylde and Blackheath, who beat Cov-entry and Orrell respectively. Henley stayed a point clear of Manchester at the head of Jewson League One with a 31-17 defeat of Harrogate.

A late try from Julian Vernall earned Cross Keys a 17-12 victory at Tredegar and a place in the semi-finals of the Swalec Cup for the first time. Cardiff, as expected, cruised into the last four with a 52-26 win at Pontypool, but the First Division side were not disgraced as their fly-half Matt Silva chalked up 21 points. In the semi-final draw, Cross Keys were paired with Swansea while Cardiff must meet the winners of today's quarter-final between Pontypridd and Llanelli.

Heriot's FP clinched the Tennent's Velvet Premiership title in Scotland with a 75-25 triumph away to Stirling County.

Australia's ACT Brumbies claimed their biggest Super 12 victory when they thrashed South Africa's Northern Bulls 73-9. Joe Roff supplied 22 points before limping off with an ankle injury and his international team- mate, George Gregan, also scored two tries.

Queensland Reds made it an Aussie double in Christchurch when they beat Canterbury Crusaders 36-23 and there was further Kiwi embarrassment when Wellington Hurricanes went down 43-27 to Golden Cats in Bloemonftein.