Rugby Union Round-Up: Rodber doubt for England

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The Independent Online
NORTHAMPTON beat London Irish 16-13 in yesterday's crucial relegation match, but will still feel hard done by. Knocked out of the Cup last week, they lost their captain in midweek when John Olver was forced to retire with a persistent ankle injury. Yesterday they lost their new captain, the England loose-forward Tim Rodber, with a hamstring strain at half-time.

Rodber, who had been a candidate for No 8 in the Murrayfield game, must now be doubtful for next weekend. 'I felt a bit of a twinge in the same area that caused the problem three weeks ago,' Rodber said. 'It feels now as if I could play next week, but I will not know definitely until tomorrow when the England squad train.' Newcastle Gosforth led Wasps 16-11 with just four minutes to go but succumbed to their customary defeat when Mike White went over, leaving Rob Andrew a simple conversion.

The key promotion contest in the Second Division took Saracens to Wakefield and the Yorkshiremen in the Saracens team turned over their own countymen: Andy Tunningley (formerly at Sandal) kicked three penalties and two conversions in his side's 23-14 victory; John Buckton (formerly at Hull Ionians) scored the second-half try that sealed the match.

Business as usual in Wales, where Swansea beat Pontypool, Neath beat Aberavon, and Pontypridd walloped Dunvant. For a surprise you have to look to Scotland, where the 11th-placed West of Scotland defeated the fifth-placed Currie 38-16.

Australia and New Zealand have agreed to make a joint bid to host next year's World Cup if a decision is made not to go ahead with the tournament in South Africa. The International Rugby Football Board has said it would investigate other venues in case unrest threatened the event in South Africa.