Rugby round-up: Elbow grief

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The Independent Online
DEAN RICHARDS, the England No 8, was taken to hospital after he dislocated an elbow during Leicester's match at Orrell. Richards will be unable to play again for about six weeks and is almost certain to miss England's first two Five Nations matches. When their captain left the field after 24 minutes, Leicester were already 10-0 up. The centre Laurence Boyle scored their first try, then Aadel Kardooni, Jez Harris, Neil Back and Stuart Potter combined to send Wayne Kilford through for a second.

The Orrell centre Simon Langford squandered two kickable penalties in the opening seven minutes and then struck each upright with two further attempts early in the second half. Harris was off-form with his kicking for Leicester, but he did manage a second-half penalty and charged down a clearance kick for a late try. Elsewhere in League One, Newcastle Gosforth led Gloucester 9-0 at half-time and must have fancied their chances of a first win; but Gloucester took control after they were awarded a penalty try and eventually won 15-9.

The most important match in Courage League Two was Sale's visit to Saracens for a clash between the league's second-and third-placed sides. A crowd of 600 spurned televised internationals and were rewarded with a lively match which Sale won 8-3. Simon Verbickas scored the game's only try with a five-yard penalty move in the 10th minute. West Hartlepool pulled clear at the top of League Two with a 48-20 defeat of Otley. West led 41-3 with 10 minutes to go then seemed to go to sleep, allowing their opponents to run in three late tries.

The veteran fly-half Kevin Plant calmly kicked an injury-time penalty as Yorkshire staged a dramatic finish to beat Gloucestershire 13-12 and reach the final of the CIS County Championship for the third time in four years.