Round-up: Best efforts keep Ulster at the helm

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The Independent Online

Ulster consolidated their position at the top of the Magners League with an efficient 19-8 victory away to Glasgow last night. The visitors ran in three tries - by Rory Best, Neil Best and Tommy Bowe - while Glasgow's solitary touchdown came from Andy Newman.

Cardiff Blues moved up the table with a 36-15 success over Borders at the Arms Park. Rhys Shellard bagged a brace while Jamie Robinson, Xavier Rush and Ben White also crossed for the Blues. Simon Danielli and Garry Law went over for the Reivers.

Bernard Laporte, beleaguered head coach of France, has already pencilled 20 names into the hosts' squad for the 2007 Rugby World Cup, even though the tournament is still nine months away.

Laporte, who named a 40-man party for the forthcoming RBS Six Nations' Championship last week, insists time is running out for those wishing to secure one of the 10 remaining World Cup places.

"The door is not closed to anybody," he said. "But with 20 players who are certainties, there aren't many opportunities left."

The former South African lock Frik du Preez, one of national coach Jake White's harshest critics, will meet representatives of SA Rugby next week to discuss becoming a Springbok selector.

Piri Weepu, New Zealand's No 2 scrum-half, is to spend next week training in Australia with the Knights rugby league team, who are seeking a replacement for Andrew Johns. The NZRFU have approved the exercise as Weepu is set to miss the first half of the 2007 Super 14 tournament to rest ahead of the World Cup.

Doncaster stay top in National League One despite losing 9-6 at Beford. Earth Titans, 32-15 victors over Newbury, are second, two points behind, but both could be leapfrogged by Leeds who entertain Plymouth Albion today.

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