Rugby Union: Ellis has last say

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Kevin Ellis, a recent recruit from rugby league side Widnes, claimed the decisive late try as Sale collected their first Allied Dunbar Premiership Division One points with a 26-20 victory over London Irish at Sunbury.

Sale, beaten at home by Saracens last weekend, also scored through a try by Chris Yates plus four penalties and two conversions from the former All Black Shane Howarth. The Exiles, already facing a rearguard action after losing last weekend to Richmond, also ran in two tries - from their Ireland full-back Conor O'Shea and flanker Ciaran Bird. Their other points came via Niall Woods, with two conversions and a penalty, and David Humphreys with a drop goal.

Tim Rodber, the Lions No 8 who missed Northampton's Division One defeat by Harlequins last weekend due to a hamstring injury, will also sit out today's visit to Newcastle. Stuart Legg, scorer of Newcastle's winning try at Bath last weekend after coming on as a replacement, continues to stand in for the Lions wing Tony Underwood who is sidelined with a knee injury.

The Lions scrum-half Kyran Bracken is still recovering from a shoulder injury and misses Saracens' first home league game at Vicarage Road today. But their opponents Richmond expect the Lions pair, Allan Bateman and Barry Williams, to turn out following their try-scoring efforts for Wales against Romania yesterday.

Rory Underwood, the former Leicester, England and Lions wing, failed to score on his league debut for Bedford in their 18-11 Division Two win over Rotherham. The home team's points all came from the boot of their Welsh full-back Mike Rayer.

Coventry, who like Bedford came within a play-off of promotion last season, put last week's clubhouse fire behind them with a 20-12 success over West Midland rivals Moseley.

Orrell beat Blackheath 26-17 but their fellow refugees from the top flight, West Hartlepool, lost 21-19 at home to Waterloo. Scotland centre Ron Eriksson helped himself to three tries as London Scottish thrashed Fylde 35-9, but Dave Scully's five penalties proved in vain as Exeter, last season's Division Three champions, won 19-15 at Wakefield.

Morley had a day to forget in Jewson National League One, arriving half an hour late at Rosslyn Park before losing 15-5.

Melrose, victorious in all their Tennents League games last season, were defeated 32-13 at Hawick in the Scottish League Trophy.

Leinster, who beat Connacht 23-6 at Donnybrook, took the Irish Inter- Provincial Championship after the holders Munster lost 22-12 to Ulster at Ravenhill.