Rugby round-up: Carling's fears for SA tour

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The Independent Online
THE England captain Will Carling yesterday cast doubts on guarantees of safety for his squad on their tour to South Africa next month. 'I hear that the South African government has guaranteed the security of all visiting athletes,' Carling said. 'But how can they? Nobody can guarantee anything. The safety of the players and supporters must not be put in jeopardy when a decision about whether to go ahead with this tour is made.'

England arrive for the tour less than two weeks after the first free elections in South Africa. 'We realise that a final decision cannot be taken until after the elections,' Carling said, 'but there must be a cut-off point. It seems reasonable to take a decision about a week after the elections and a week before we go.'

Even in victory Newcastle Gosforth's season is miserable. Yesterday they gained their second successive victory when they defeated Orrell 13-12 in the day's only First Division fixture. But they paid a high price: as the Orrell flanker Steve Bibby crashed over the line for a last-minute try, the Gosforth scrum-half Steve Douglas made a desperate attempt to tackle him and in the process broke his right leg badly.

It was a sad end to a bad game. Orrell led 7-3 at half-time through a try from the winger Paul Haymer which Gerry Ainscough converted. Neil Frankland, the Gosforth flanker, brought his side back into the game when he charged down a kick and went over between the posts. David Johnson converted, and later added a 45-metre penalty that assured Gosforth of an empty victory.

The only First Division game in Wales was a canter for Bridgend, who went to Newbridge and won 38-11. The winger Gwilym Wilkins grabbed two of their five tries, with the scrum-half Huw Lewis converting all five.