Rugby Union: Dempsey's collar is felt

GIRVAN DEMPSEY has pulled out of Ireland's World Cup squad after breaking his collar bone. The Terenure College wing, whose replacement will be named during the coming week, sustained the injury in Leinster's 22-19 victory over Connacht at Donnybrook in the Guinness Inter-Provincial Championship on Friday. Meanwhile, the tournament continued yesterday when the holders Munster shaded the European Cup winners Ulster in a 25- 24 thriller in Belfast.

Australia's captain John Eales continued his comeback from the shoulder injury which threatened to force him out of the World Cup with a spirited display in Queensland's 24-3 win over New South Wales at Ballymore. The full-back Matt Burke, who missed the start of the season, kicked NSW's only goal. Another Australian squad member who is on his way back following injury, the ACT fly-half Stephen Larkham, will also play in the inter- state series.

One player who will miss the World Cup, the deposed Springboks' captain Gary Teichmann, scored a try as Natal qualified for the Currie Cup final with a 45-8 thrashing of Free State in Durban. In the other semi-final, Gauteng Lions devoured South Western Districts Eagles 81-21 at Ellis Park.

The former Wales flanker Richard Webster, a summer signing from Bath, scored two tries against his old club Swansea to help Bridgend to a 21- 18 success in the Welsh-Scottish League Premier Division at Brewery Field. Swansea, who boycotted last season's Welsh league because they felt the standard was too low, bowed to a side reduced to 14 men for most of the second half after the prop Dinlle Francis was sent off for stamping.

Cardiff, also returning after a season on the sidelines, went down 18- 13 to Newport whose points all came from the boot of Gareth Cull. Neath's capture from Aberavon, Cerith Rees, settled in quickly, landing four kicks in the 35-20 victory at Dunvant, but Caerphilly lost 51-22 and shipped seven tries at home to Edinburgh Reivers.

Dave Muckalt touched down twice as promoted Henley began their Allied Dunbar Premiership Two campaign with a 28-22 home win over London Welsh. Tony Yapp, the former Bedford fly-half, dashed Manchester's hopes of a similar start with 21 points in the visitors Worcester's 36-7 stroll. Rotherham, who narrowly missed promotion to the top flight last term, picked up where they left off with a 30-8 success at Wakefield. Newcomers Scott Benton and Richard Le Bas supplied all Leeds' points in a 25-8 win at Orrell and Steve Gough kicked five penalties and four conversions as Coventry hammered neighbours Rugby 48-6.

Heriot's FP began their defence of the BT Scottish Premiership with a 60-14 thrashing of Currie.

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