Rugby Union: Back's winning return

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The Independent Online
Neil Back, the former England flanker, made his comeback last night after a six-month suspension for pushing referee Steve Lander during the Pilkington Cup final in May, as Leicester maintained their unbeaten record in the Anglo-Welsh Cup with a 39-16 victory at Neath.

"The severity of the suspension surprised me, but it's true to say I was made an example of," said Back, who has been capped five times by England, the last against Western Samoa in the 1995 World Cup.

"I targeted the Neath game all along for my comeback. But Bill Drake- Lee is the man in possession and I realise I have a fight on my hands to recapture my [Leicester] back row place."

Back showed he had lost none of his appetite in setting up the Tigers second try, but he was forced to retire after an hour with a recurring hamstring problem, making him doubtful for Saturday's league game against Bristol.

After Harlequins had scored their 12th try in compiling a 78-10 home victory over Llanelli, the referee, John Pearson, ended the game four minutes early. Jason Keyter scored a hat-trick of tries for Quins, and Steve Pilgrim kicked seven conversions and scored a try.

The remarkable fact about the slaughter was that it was achieved by a largely second-string Quins team containing only one England cap, their captain Andy Mullins. Llanelli fielded six Welsh internationals but were never in the match and all their points came from their outside-half Craig Warlow.

Chris Sheasby scored two tries for Wasps as they registered their first victory in the tournament with a hard-fought 29-19 success against Pontypridd at Sardis Road.