Llanelli lead the way

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The Independent Online

Llanelli took advantage of Gloucester's defeat at Colomiers to move to the top of Pool Five in the Heineken Cup with a 41-21 defeat of Roma.

Llanelli took advantage of Gloucester's defeat at Colomiers to move to the top of Pool Five in the Heineken Cup with a 41-21 defeat of Roma.

Tries from their Irish scrum-half Guy Easterby, and the Welsh internationals John Davies, Dafydd James and Rupert Moon put the visitors in charge while the boot of their fly-half Steve Jones did the rest, slotting three conversions and five penalties.

The Italians replied with a try and a conversion from Andrea Scanavacca, another touchdown from Sacha Virgilio, and two penalties and a drop goal by Ramiro Pez.

Increasingly, it seems that Llanelli's visit to Gloucester in their next Heineken Cup outing on 13 January will prove to be the key fixture in this group. But the Welsh club still face an uphill battle because their other round-robin game a week later is at home to Colomiers, while the French side and Gloucester each have the relative luxury of another game against Roma, who are still to claim their first point in this season's campaign.

In another Welsh-Italian clash, Cross Keys failed to emulate Llanelli's success in their European Shield visit to the runaway Pool One leaders Treviso, and a first-half drop goal from their fly-half Jamie Webb was all they had to show for their efforts as they succumbed 31-3.

Once again, though, English clubs enjoyed greater success in the junior European tournament with Sale, Bristol and London Irish all clocking up impressive victories.

London Irish cemented their position at the head of Pool Six with a 58-13 romp in Piacenza and Bristol moved clear in Pool Seven by beating Parma 25-12. Meanwhile, Sale kept alive their hopes by seeing off the Pool Four leaders Agen 28-23 at Heywood Road.

Worcester hold a five-point lead in National League One after yesterday's 32-19 success at Waterloo, in which the recently-signed New Zealand scrum-half Richard Jarman claimed two of their five tries. Second-placed Leeds went one better with six touchdowns, two of them from their scrum-half Scott Benton, in a 34-3 thrashing of their hosts Coventry who now prop up the table. London Welsh moved up to third position, seven points behind Leeds, with a hard-fought 24-18 victory away to Exeter.

In the BT Scotland Premiership, the leaders Hawick had to overhaul a narrow interval deficit to defeat their spirited visitors Glasgow Hawks 16-11. Neil Stenhouse was on target with three penalties and a conversion of Gavin Douglas's second-half try.

Aberavon sneaked ahead of Newbridge in the Welsh First Division with a 16-3 home win over Treorchy while their rivals' match at Abertillery was postponed due to the weather.

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