Moore no merrier as London lose their way

Rugby union: North 18 London 9
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The Independent Online
PAUL STEPHENS

North 18 London 9

If the first principle of leadership is example then Brian Moore failed on one count though scored notably on several others as London slipped to their second successive defeat in this disappointing CIS Divisional Championship match at College Grove, Wakefield on Saturday.

Moore was fortunate not to be dismissed by Tony Spreadbury, either after a second-half stamping incident or for an apparent head-butt, both of which could have warranted England's most-capped forward facing a disciplinary tribunal this week instead of leading London out against West Samoa at Twickenham on Wednesday.

Afterwards, Moore was robustly unrepentant. ''This sort of situation provides referees with a conundrum. Do they penalise the player killing the ball, or the guy trying to ruck him out of the way?'' Moore asked. It was a question never answered in a contest where fair release and slow delivery from ruck and maul were features of a game which began so promisingly.

It ended with the North deserved winners by two tries to nil. ''We passed up a couple of good chances and gave away too much ball," Moore said. ''That wasn't good enough today, nor will it be on Wednesday when some of us have a point to prove."

Clearly Moore feels there is still hope of reclaiming his place when England meet the tourists on 16 December. More to the point is where Jack Rowell will make changes after the performance against South Africa.

If it is at scrum-half then Andy Gomarsall - who outshone the North's Austin Healey - must come into the reckoning. At full-back (assuming Mike Catt is not returned there, allowing Rob Andrew's rumoured recall) Tim Stimpson, whose blistering pace set up the long-range try for Will Greenwood which settled the result, must be next in line.

North: Tries Mallinder, W Greenwood. Conversion Liley. Penalties Liley 2. London: Penalties Gregory 3.

NORTH: T Stimpson (West Hartlepool); J Naylor (Orrell), W Greenwood (Harlequins), P Johnson (Orrell, capt), J Mallinder; R Liley (both Sale), A Healey; P Winstanley (both Orrell), S Diamond (Sale), M Shelley (West Hartlepool), J Fowler (Sale), M Greenwood (Wasps), R Arnold (Newcastle), N Ashurst, C Vyvyan (both Sale). Replacements: G Baldwin (Wakefield) for Winstanley, 2; P Stewart (Wakefield) for Vyvyan, 48.

LONDON: A Tunningley (Saracens); M Griffiths, N Greenstock (both Wasps), P Menesah (Harlequins), S Roiser; G Gregory, A Gomarsall (all Wasps); S Brown (Harlequins), B Moore (Harlequins, capt), I Dunston (Wasps), A Snow, M Watson (both Harlequins), M White (Wasps), R Jenkins (Harlequins), A Diprose (Saracens).

Referee: A Spreadbury (Bristol).

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