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.Reuse content