Rugby Union Round-Up: Brive out with the washing

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The Independent Online
THE Super 12 title-holders Auckland Blues destroyed the European Cup champions Brive 47-11 in what amounted to the unofficial world club championship in France yesterday.

The centre Lee Stensness led the Auckland charge with a hat-trick of tries. Auckland, who narrowly beat Harlequins in midweek, were stronger, faster, more skilled technically and more cunning strategically.

"It was like spending 80 minutes in a washing machine," Brive's captain, Alain Penaud, said after the New Zealand side ran in six tries to one. Brive, who humbled Leicester in the European Cup final last month, were handed a rugby lesson which again demonstrated the superiority of sides from the Southern Hemisphere - highlighted by a dazzling individual try from the 23-year-old wing Joeli Vidiri.

"It was like being run over by a bus a hundred times." said Penaud. "The 101st time, the tackling gets a bit clumsy." Auckland now travel to South Africa to begin their Super 12 title defence.

Set to the back-drop of the district versus club rugby argument at present sweeping Scotland, Melrose and Watsonians produced a match that argued for the continuation of a strong club competition, as Melrose pipped their visitors to the Tennents Championship title with a 26-22 win.

Watsonians had their nose in front at half-time 15-12 thanks to five wind-assisted penalties from Duncan Hodge. After the restart Melrose, who had scored two first-half tries through Peter Wright and Craig Chalmers, continued to keep the ball alive. Their reward was two touchdowns from Garry Parker and Derek Stark, Parker's coming after a massive bomb from Chalmers, the games outstanding player, was fielded by the Scotland full- back Rowan Shepherd and shipped wide. A Derek Lee try gave Watsonians hope but their hosts held on.

Orrell kept a glimmer of Courage League One survival with a 32-27 win over fellow strugglers London Irish. Lua Tuigamala crashed over for Orrell in the first minute after a blistering 75-yard run from Peter Anglesey, setting the tone for a frenetic match. Ireland stand-off David Humphries pulled back a try within four minutes for Irish, but after that early success he was wayward with his place-kicking. Fortunately for Orrell, Humphries' opposite number, the Wales A cap Matthew McCarthy, was spot- on with six penalties and two conversions.

Biggest score of the day was the 99-7 destruction of Dinas Powys by Cardiff in the Swalec Cup, with the winger Steve Ford helping himself to five tries. Ford's fourth took him past the club record of 185 tries, scored by centre Bleddyn Williams over 10 seasons in the Forties and Fifties.

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