Rugby Union: Poole passed fit for Leicester

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The Independent Online
THEIR fitness doubts resolved, Leicester yesterday named the semi-final side who trounced Northampton for Saturday's Pilkington Cup final against Harlequins at Twickenham. The game, to be refereed by Tony Spreadbury, of Bath, has been a 54,000 sell-out for weeks.

In particular, Matthew Poole, the 24-year-old lock who toured Argentina with England in 1990, has been passed to play despite a knee injury suffered against Rugby last Saturday. There was never any doubt the scrum-half, Aadel Kardooni (appendix), and the flanker, Neil Back, would play after being rested then.

The Tigers will field four internationals, including three of the Lions to visit New Zealand: the Underwoods and Dean Richards, who is about to be appointed Leicester captain for 1993-94. The No 8's first captaincy season, 1989-90, was curtailed by injury.

Having said on Monday that their team would be announced yesterday, Harlequins have put it back to tonight - which would give any would-be peacemaker one last chance to heal the rift with the management that will otherwise keep England's World Sevens-winning captain, Andrew Harriman, out of the final.

Demand for match tickets is such that Twickenham could have been filled twice over, and the Rugby Football Union even considered opening part of the new east stand, now under construction. In the end, safety considerations overrode the desire to get more people in.

Despite the evident public interest, there will be no live television coverage, rugby union being below the Rugby League Challenge Cup in the BBC's contractual pecking-order. Coverage will commence at tea-time.

LEICESTER (v Harlequins, Twickenham, 1 May): J Liley; T Underwood, I Bates, S Potter, R Underwood; J Harris, A Kardooni; G Rowntree, R Cockerill, D Garforth, M Johnson, M Poole, J Wells (capt), D Richards, N Back. Replacements: L Boyle, D Grewcock, D Hopper, C Johnson, S Povoas, N Richardson.

Otley won the 104th Yorkshire Cup final at Kirkstall last night, beating Rotherham 22-5 to lift the trophy for the ninth time. For newly promoted Otley, it was their first victory in the final of the 116-year-old competition since 1937. Rotherham were appearing in their first final.