Rugby Union: Chesney on time

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SARACENS RESTORED English pride yesterday by recording the first victory by a visiting side from east of Offa's Dyke since the start of this season's series of Anglo-Welsh friendlies. Even so, the Tetley's Bitter Cup holders left it extremely late before breaking the deadlock to beat Swansea 32-25 at the St Helen's Ground.

Sarries owed their success to a last-minute try from a replacement, Kris Chesney, who had only come on 20 seconds earlier, yet the result was just reward for the excellence of their French fly-half Alain Penaud, who landed a drop goal, scored a try and made another for Matt Singer. Swansea's disappointment was compounded when they learned that their scrum-half Andy Booth could be out for six months after snapping a hamstring.

Bristol hold a two-point lead in Allied Dunbar Premiership Two following their 41-9 win away to the bottom club Blackheath, which featured a hat- trick of tries from the Australian centre Adam Larkin. The result leaves Bristol with five wins from five league outings and Blackheath with five straight defeats.

Second-placed Worcester stumbled to their first league defeat of the season when they went down 31-26 at Waterloo, who have joined them on eight points in third place. Orrell slipped up 13-11 at home to Leeds and Fylde upset visitors Wakefield 20-18, but Rotherham made it three wins in a row by beating London Welsh 27-13 at Old Deer Park and Exeter stayed in touch with the upper echelons of the table with a comfortable 20-8 home victory over Moseley.

A 24-23 defeat at Ebbw Vale left Pontypridd trailing Llanelli by two points in the Welsh Premier Division. Worse still for Ponty was that Welsh rugby's top try scorer this season, Rhys Shorney, was carried off with an ankle injury after earlier scoring a try. Ebbw Vale, who have bounced back commendably since shipping more than 100 points in Toulouse last month, had Mark Jones sent off two minutes from time.

Luke Richards, Neath's inexperienced fly-half, contributed 22 points to his side's 37-27 success away to the bottom club Aberavon while Bridgend and Caerphilly fought out a 24-24 thriller at Brewery Field.

Munster overhauled Leinster to put a fresh head on the Guinness Inter- provincial Championship table, albeit only on points difference, following yesterday's contests. Munster swept aside Ulster 31-9 in Cork but Leinster were beaten 24-23 defeat by Connacht in Galway.