Rees seals Sale

Rugby Union: Round-up
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Andy Gomarsall underlined his England potential with the injury- time try which enabled Wasps to sink luckless Sale on the first Saturday of the new Courage League One campaign.

The young scrum-half darted between the posts for his second try in the dying seconds, and Gareth Rees, who had already landed four penalties and two conversions, kicked the points which sealed the visitors' 33-31 victory. Earlier, Sale made a brisk start against the club which pipped them for fourth spot last season (and a place in Europe) and led 18-3 after half an hour. In all, Sale ran in four tries, including two from the former Gloucester wing Tom Beim.

Northampton, runaway winners of League Two last season, carried on from where they left off with a 46-20 win over visitors West Hartlepool. The Ireland centre Jonathan Bell claimed two of their six tries while West, bottom of League One last season, scored three second-half tries.

Promoted London Irish lost a 55-point thriller to visitors Bristol by the narrowest of margins. The Ireland wing Niall Woods claimed two tries but was eclipsed by an outstanding, try-scoring display from the former Wales scrum-half Robert Jones on his Bristol debut. "The way we played was dumb. I'm looking forward to Monday night to give the players a hard time," said the Exiles' coach Clive Woodward.

An early try from the Wales centre Gareth Thomas and two late penalties by Lyndon Griffiths secured a 13-9 win for Bridgend over Llanelli in the Welsh first division. Newport scored four tries as they beat newcomers Caerphilly 29-10, Dunvant saw off Ebbw Vale 21-10 and Newbridge won 23-17 at Treorchy. In the Anglo-Welsh Second Division, Richmond hammered Maesteg 91-3 while their big-spending rivals, Bedford, enjoyed a more sedate 39-24 victory at Cardiff Institute.

Melrose began their defence of the Tennents Scottish Championship with a 107-10 drubbing of their immediate predecessors Stirling County. Scott Nich-ol helped himself to five tries.