Neath just edged their way through to the Fifth Round of the Konica Minolta Cup after a dog-fight at Llandovery, winning by a single point 20-19, after having led by 10-9 at the interval.Two tries from centre John Leyshon and ten points from the boot of outside half Matthew Jones - a former Llandovery College pupil - gave Neath the win, while the exciting Wales under-21 wing Ifan Evans crossed for Llandovery after a kick and chase to the corner and Ricky Williams landed the conversion and four penalty goals.Newport brushed aside Bridgend Athletic at Rodney Parade as the wet weather decimated the fourth round of the WRU's Challenge Cup.Ten of the 32 ties were called off, including matches involving Premier sides Bedwas, Caerphilly, Cross Keys, Carmarthen Quins, Pontypool and Swansea, while Seven Sisters scratched after failing to field a team at Llanharan.Newport stormed to a 31-3 lead at half-time against their Division Two West rivals, Bridgend Athletic, but eased off in the second half to cruise to a 48-3 victory. Centre Rhys Shorney scored a try in each half as the Black and Ambers ran in eight, but fly half Dan Griffiths converted only four.Cup kings and defending champions Llanelli had too many guns for Division Three club Brecon, winning 30-0 as Wales international Mike Phillips scored two tries and fly-half Ceiron Thomas kicked 10 points. The home side included two New Zealanders in the pack, while Llanelli No 8 Gavin Quinnellwas sin-binned.It was one-way traffic for the other Premier sides in action.Pontypridd returned from Dinas Powys with a 33-3 victory, Bridgend mauled Brynithel 65-0, Newbridge beat Llandaff North 52-0 and Ebbw Vale accounted for Old Illtydians 18-0. On Friday, Aberavon hammered Merthyr 43-13.Rhymney celebrated lock Glen Williams' 500th game for the club with acome-from-behind 16-12 victory over gritty North Walians Denbigh, while Division Two front-runners Dunvant surprisingly fell 13-14 at Division Three club Nantyffyllon.In another upset, 10 points from goal-kicker Huw Evans took Division Two club Newcastle Emlyn to a hard-fought 20-12 victory over Division One side UWIC,Gavin Davey, younger brother of Brett, scored the winning try as Beddau just edged out Pontycymmer 17-13, while the derby at Mountain Ash saw around 3,000 watch Abercynon gain the only tries of a 21-6 win as forwards Rhys Shellard and Kevin Cadoganm went over.Results: Aberavon 43 Merthyr 13, Banwen 21 Pontyberem 10, Brecon 0 Llanelli 30, Brynithel 0 Bridgend 65, Corus 33 Nelson 15, Cwmavon 0 Tonyrefail 20,Dinas Powys 3 Pontypridd 33, Ebbw Vale 18 Old Illtydians 0, Felinfoel 34Dolgellau 8, Llandaff North 0 Newbridge 52, Llandovery 19 Neath 20, Llanharan bt Seven Sisters by walkover, Maesteg 33 Cwmllynfell 10, Mountain Ash 6 Abercynon 21, Nantyffyllon 14 Dunvant 13, New Tredegar 12 NewportSaracens 17, Newcastle Emlyn 20 UWIC 12, Newport 48 Bridgend Ath 3, Pontycymmer 13 Beddau 17, Rhymney 16 Denbigh 12, Whitland 64 Llanelli Wands 5.Postponed: Bedwas v Narberth, Blackwood v Senghenydd, Bonymaen v Tonna, Caerphilly v Carmarthen Ath, Cross Keys v Carmarthen Quins, Llangefni v Treherbert, Pencoed v Gorseinon, Pontypool v Nantymoel, Risca v BuilthWells, Ynysddu v Swansea (playing January 10).Playing Sunday: Brynmawr v Cardiff (2.30pm).
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.
The WRU officially unveiled the new pitch today in time for Wales to take on Australia in the first of the Dove Men Series autumn international matches this Saturday. Head Groundsman Lee Evans and colleague Craig Campbell reflect on the 15-week project and look ahead to a pitch perfect future at Millennium Stadium.