Briers returns in style as Wales thrash Scotland

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The Independent Online

The return of Lee Briers paved the way for an overwhelming Welsh victory over Scotland in the first round of European Cup fixtures.

Wales won 60-22 in Glasgow with Briers marking his come-back from international retirement with eight goals, a superb kicking game in general play and the man of the match award.

Elliot Kear and Rhys Williams both completed hat-tricks in the last 12 minutes as Wales ran away with it, after leading just 26-18 at half-time.

The French captain, Olivier Elima, helped his side get their European Cup campaign off to an assured start with a 58-24 win over Ireland in Avignon.

The former Catalan Dragons second-rower, who will be with Bradford next season, scored four tries as France made light of an early Irish lead from a try by Batley prop Sean Hesketh.

John Gillam scored twice for the Irish, with other tries coming from Jamie O'Callaghan and Gregg McNally, but they were never in serious contention after half-time.

New Zealand have added the Penrith prop Sam McKendry to their squad for the Four Nations, following the withdrawal of Fuifui Moimoi with a broken arm.

The England captain, Adrian Morley, has said he will never retire from playing for his country. The 33-year-old Warrington prop, who has just arrived in New Zealand for the Four Nations, has not ruled out playing in the World Cup in three years' time.

"I'd love to be in the same form when it comes around," he said. "I'll never retire from playing for England.

"I think players retire too early and I think that it's your duty, if you're playing well enough and the coach wants you, to put your hand up."

Morley has recovered from a minor back injury and will lead England against the New Zealand Maori in their warm-up game in Auckland on Saturday.

Sheffield Eagles and Halifax have settled their argument over the eligibility of Sam Barlow out of court.