RUGBY UNION: Leonard forced to settle for the bench

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The Independent Online
JASON LEONARD'S hopes of making an instant impact after his one- month ban have diminished after he was chosen as a substitute for Harlequins' home match against unbeaten Saracens tomorrow.

Leonard was suspended for kicking at Northampton in the second match of the season. He is now free to resume, but is kept out by the outstanding form shown by David Barnes in the loose-head prop position.

Leonard, capped 63 times, missed the summer tour and is now running short of opportunities to show the England coach, Clive Woodward, that he is worth a place in England's front row in the World Cup games next month.

The Harlequins player-coach Zinzan Brook, who missed the last two matches with a knee injury, including the team's only win this season, is fit and is back at No 8 instead of Bill Davison. A shuffle in the back division brings in the full-back Jamie Williams after injury, with Daren O'Leary reverting to his normal wing position at the expense of Jason Keyter.

The Frenchman, Alain Penaud, has won the battle of the Saracens half- backs to pip Kyran Bracken to the September Allied Dunbar and Rugby World player of the month award. Saracens have made the most of their midfield pair's impressive early-season form to stand as the only unbeaten side in the Premiership's top flight after the first full month of the season.

Alan Tait makes his long awaited return to the Edinburgh Reivers starting line-up for the trip to play Ebbw Vale tomorrow. Named as captain in the pre-season friendlies, Tait was dropped for the start of the European Cup campaign but has been recalled in place of the injured Graham Shiel.

West Hartlepool have signed the Australian Under-21 wing Tim Lough from Queensland.

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