Celtic joy for the Miller-light men

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The Independent Online

Leinster, reduced to 14 men for almost an hour following the dismissal of Eric Miller, were crowned Celtic League champions when they outlasted Munster 24-20 in the final at Lansdowne Road yesterday. They trailed 12-6 at half-time after Munster had touched down twice through Anthony Foley and John O'Neill, but hit back with second-half tries from Gordon D'Arcy and Shane Horgan. Anthony Horgan went over in injury time for Munster but by then the game was beyond rescue.

Llanelli remain top of the Welsh/Scottish League after battling from behind to beat Edinburgh 42-17 at Stradey Park. The Scots scored first with a try after seven minutes from Brendan Laney and thought they had gone further ahead three minutes later when Duncan Hodge sailed over between the posts only for the effort to be disallowed. Then Laney committed an astonishing blunder, having the ball knocked from his hands while trying to beat three men to get behind the posts after crossing the Scarlets' line.

It left Llanelli only 17-8 adrift at the break – and after the interval they went into overdrive. Wayne Proctor and Mark Jones each crossed for twice and Ian Boobyer and Dafydd Jones also went over. Edinburgh's other try came from Kevin Utterson.

Newport moved up to second place with a 46-20 success at Caerphilly. Matt Mostyn and Matthew Watkins helped themselves to two tries each and Jon Pritchard, Chris Anthony and Shane Howarth also went over. Sione Tuipulotu and Luke Richards replied for the home side.

Tonga's Aisea Havili produced a stunning solo effort in the 70th minute as Bridgend pipped Ebbw Vale 28-24 at Brewery Field. Maama Molitika and Gareth Williams also crossed for the hosts while Vale's tries were stumped up by Chay Billen, Paul Matthews and David Weatherly.

Leeds had a fright at Orrell before securing a 31-22 win and a home tie in the Powergen Cup quarter-finals. The Tykes ran in four tries – two from Shaun Woof and one apiece by Eddie Jones and Cameron Mather – while the boot of Braam van Straaten, who was sin-binned in the first half, supplied four conversions and a penalty. Orrell, two divisions below their visitors, claimed one touchdown – by the rugby league centre Gary Connolly, who has trained only once with his new team-mates.

POWERGEN CUP QUARTER-FINAL DRAW: Leeds v Newcastle or Wasps; Saracens or Rotherham v Northampton; London Irish v Bristol or Gloucester; Harlequins v Leicester. Ties to be played on 19/20 January.

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