Glasgow crumble to mature Caerphilly

Paul Trow
Sunday 23 December 2001 01:00

Caerphilly sprang the surprise of the Welsh/Scottish League season when they finally won at the 10th attempt at the expense of third-placed Glasgow. On the receiving end of nine successive defeats before yesterday's 35-16 victory, the bottom club went over four times – via David Hawkins, Geraint Lewis, Ben Watkins and Graham Thomas – as their Scottish visitors collapsed in the second half. Glasgow replied with tries from Alan Bulloch and Graeme Beveridge.

Bridgend also looked like springing an upset when they led Cardiff 15-6 at half-time, but three second-half touchdowns – a brace from Jamie Robinson and one from Rhys Williams – enabled the visitors to scrape a 25-25 draw. Richard Bryan, Jamie Ringer and John Devereux crossed for Bridgend.

Pontypridd outlasted struggling Ebbw Vale 33-13 in an error-strewn affair at Sardis Road. Brent Cockbarn, Jonathan Bryant and Paul Jones ran in the home side's three tries while their Fijian fly-half Nicky Little kicked 18 points. Matt James claimed a late touchdown for Vale.

Justin Bishop believes an impressive display for London Irish in the Zurich Premiership against Saracens at the Madejski Stadium this afternoon will boost his chances of an international recall. The 27-year-old wing, who has 19 Ireland caps, might benefit from the recent replacement of Warren Gatland as the national coach by Eddie O'Sullivan. Saracens welcome back their Australian centre Tim Horan after a five-match absence, but their captain Abdel Benazzi is likely to be sidelined for three months with ligament damage.

Gloucester, who like the Exiles could go second in the table, have Olivier Azam, Jake Boer and Trevor Woodman fit again for today's Premiership outing to Loftus Road, but are still without their French fly-half Ludovic Mercier. Wasps' director of rugby, Nigel Melville, has recalled Shane Roiser on the wing and the England lock Simon Shaw.

Bath's trip to Newcastle has fallen foul of the weather, but Bristol's coach Dean Ryan returns to the dug-out for the visit by Northampton following a four-week touchline ban. Saints, buoyed by the return of Grant Seely and the former All Black Andrew Blowers, are delaying selection pending a late test on the Scotland centre John Leslie's knee injury.

Leinster, who won the Celtic League last weekend only to lose the trophy during their celebrations in a Dublin pub the same night, are still waiting for it to be returned. "The fact that it hasn't shown up is quite sad," the Leinster coach, Matt Williams, said.

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