Rugby Union Round-up: Teague in peak form

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The Independent Online
MIKE TEAGUE returned to his favourite No 8 position and steadied Gloucester's relegation nerves with a typically sound display in his side's hard-fought 9-6 Courage League victory over Orrell at Kingsholm.

The 35-year-old former England forward was switched to the base of the scrum from blind-side flanker, and the decision paid dividends as Gloucester gathered two precious points to move above Sale and Harlequins in Division One.

The match, between two of the more forward-oriented teams, was hardly a specatacle, and the Gloucester fly-half Martyn Kimber's drop goal proved the difference. The other points came via penalties - two by Gloucester's full-back Mark Mapletoft and two by his counterpart Simon Langford.

Gloucester's journey up the table is unlikely to breed any complacency, though, especially in the light of West Hartlepool's emphatic and unexpected 47-11 home victory over fourth-placed Bristol which enabled them to swap places at the bottom with Northampton. West hit Bristol with seven tries, two of them from their No 8 Mick Watson who had reportedly been considering his future after failing to see eye to eye with the club's coach Barry Taylor.

Saracens opened up a two-point gap at the top of League Two thanks to a fine 33-16 success at Coventry. John Buckton, the former England centre, ran in two of the London side's four tries while the full-back Andy Tunningley kicked 13 points.

Meanwhile, second-placed Waterloo slipped up 18-19 at home to Wakefield, who still have a lot of catching up to do to justify their pre-season billing as favourites for promotion. Bedford moved two points clear in League Three by winning 19-3 at Exeter. Harrogate lost 20-37 at home to Yorkshire rivals Otley, so Blackheath leapfrogged over them into second place following their 27-0 home win over Clifton. Once-proud Richmond remain firmly anchored to the bottom as a result of their 23-0 drubbing by Rosslyn Park at Roehampton, Japan joined Ireland, Wales and New Zealand in Pool C of next year's World Cup yesterday when they beat South Korea 26-11 in the final of the Asian qualifying tournament in Kuala Lumpur. It is the 10th time in 14 years that Japan have been Asian champions.

(Photograph omitted)

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