Newcastle undone

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The Independent Online
If anybody was going to end Newcastle's unbeaten run in Courage League Two, it looked likely to be Coventry. But the Midlands side achieved it in the most dramatic fashion when Jez Harris dropped an injury-time goal from 40 metres for a 19-18 victory just when it seemed that 14-man Newcastle, who had the rugby league international John Bentley sent off before half-time for trading blows with Andy Smallwood, would hold out.

Coventry's jubilant players - who outscored Newcastle by two tries to nil - threw their jerseys into the crowd as the ill-tempered contest ended.

The former England international Rob Andrew kicked all Newcastle's points and twice put his side in front, but Coventry hit back with tries from their full-back Wayne Kilford and Smallwood. Andrew regained the initiative with a drop goal from in front of the posts. But Harris had the last laugh.

Richmond took advantage to leap-frog to the top of the table as the Quinnell brothers, Scott and Craig, scored seven tries betweeen them in a 64-13 romp past Waterloo.

In the Heineken European Cup pool D, Toulouse put their 77-17 defeat at Wasps firmly behind them with a 60-19 thrashing of Munster. The French champions led only 17-9 before turning on the style in the final 40 minutes. Michel Marfaing scored three tries, and there were two apiece for Emile Ntamack and Christian Califano.

Munster's team manager Colm Tucker paid tribute to Toulouse. "They gave us a lesson in mauling. We had to defend all day. When we gave the ball away it was 99 per cent certain that Toulouse would be up on our try line. It makes you wonder how they lost so easily at Wasps," Tucker said.

In pool D, Dax secured the final place in the last eight at the expense of Pontypridd with a hard-fought 22-18 home victory. Hugo Mola scored the only try of the match in the second minute while Neil Jenkins kicked six penalties for Pontypridd, who led 12-7 at half-time.

Ulster needed a big win in pool C but succumbed 17-6 at Ravenhill to the French side Brive.

The final series of results left Scotland and Ireland languishing without a team in the final stages. The competiton proved a particular disaster for Scotland - three sides designed to combine the talents of the country's finest players could manage only one win between them.

Saracens scored an impressive 53-40 win over a touring Western Samoa side containing 11 internationals.

In the Pilkington Cup third round, Division Four North Preston Grasshoppers achieved a shock 24-12 win over the previously unbeaten Fylde, the leaders of Division Three.

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