RUGBY UNION: Graham flies high as Falcons cruise home

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GEORGE GRAHAM, the Scotland prop, helped himself to two second- half tries as the Newcastle Falcons made it four wins out of four in European Shield Pool Six with a 51-10 thrashing of Dunvant, yesterday. Newcastle, who beat the Welsh side 45-26 last weekend, ran in eight tries to improve their position at the top of the table.

Dunvant trailed by 17 points at half-time after conceding four tries, and it was almost one-way traffic after the break as the Falcons scored a further four tries to set themselves up for a quarter-final slot.

On Saturday, scrum-half Richard Smith inspired Ebbw Vale to their fourth successive Pool Four victory in Bucharest. Smith bagged a hat-trick of tries as the Welsh side beat Steaua Bucharest 43-27. In the other Pool Four game, Connacht's sad run continued as they were beaten 41-15 by Toulon.

Gloucester made up for their temporary lapse against Bridgend last week by beating the Welsh side 23-6 at Kingsholm, while in Pool Three, Sale completed the double over Caerphilly with a 31-10 win.

Struggling Bedford slumped to a 56-6 defeat against Castres but London Irish remain on the coat-tails of Pool Seven leaders Agen after an impressive 39-13 victory against Roma.

The Ireland full-back Conor O'Shea starred for Irish, scoring a brace of tries. Agen, meanwhile, won 28-13 away at former European champions Brive.

Dax were 18-9 winners at Calvisano in Pool One,while in Pool Six, Narbonne were 36-20 winners against Aurillac.