Leeds challenge ends in shame

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The Independent Online
LEEDS' ambitious Pilkington Cup campaign ended in defeat and disgrace against London Irish when their forward Richard McCartney was sent off for kicking an opponent. A fifth-round upset was still possible until McCartney was dismissed after 63 minutes with the scores level at 13-13. But his departure signalled the end of the League Four side's challenge and the Exiles eventually won 29-13, thanks to late tries from their centres Rob Henderson and Paul Flood.

Michael Corcoran kicked four penalties and converted Tim Ewington's first- half try while Leeds, fourth-round conquerors of another League Two side, Waterloo, scored a try through Wayne Hartley which was converted by Colin Stephens, who also kicked two penalties.

London Irish's quarter-final opponents will be West Hartlepool, whose League One place they hope to claim next season. Yesterday, West were too strong for visitors Coventry, of League Three, winning 16-6 with full- back Tim Stimpson supplying 11 points and Australian wing Jim Williams scoring the game's only try. Coventry replied with two penalties from fly-half John Hart.

Gloucester proved that the gulf between the top two divisions is widening with an emphatic 36-10 victory at Nottingham. Despite trailing 10-8 at the interval, the visitors ran in four second-half tries to earn a quarter-final tie against Wasps.

Derwyn Jones (flu), Gwyn Jones (back strain) and Leigh Davies (knee injury) all demonstrated their fitness at a Welsh international squad training session in Cardiff yesterday.

Scotland will be represented by three districts, not clubs, in next season's Heineken European Cup. Edinburgh and South of Scotland will take two places while North & Midlands and Glasgow play off for the third.

Ireland have named the London Irish fly-half David Hum-phreys for his international debut against France in Paris on Saturday. Humphreys, who comes in for Eric Elwood, will link up at half-back with Niall Hogan, who replaces Sale's Chris Saverimutto. The Old Belvedere lock Neil Francis has also been axed.

Ireland (v France, Paris, Saturday): J Staples (Harlequins); S Geoghegan (Bath), J Bell (Northampton), K McQuilkin (Bective Rangers), N Woods (Blackrock Coll); D Humphreys (London Irish), N Hogan (Terenure Coll); N Popplewell (Newcastle), T Kingston (Dolphin), P Clohessy (Young Munster), P Johns (Dungannon), G Fulcher (Cork Constitution), J Davidson (Dungannon), D Corkery (Cork Constitution), V Costello (St Mary's Coll). Replacements: M Field (Malone), P Burke (Cork Constitution), C Saverimutto (Sale), D McBride (Malone), H Hurley (Old Wesley), A Clark (Northampton).