Rugby Union / Round-Up: Union make call for Olympic reunion

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The Independent Online
RUGBY UNION may soon become an Olympic sport again. The prospects of the game rejoining the Olympic movement were significantly advanced yesterday when Vernon Pugh QC, the chairman of the International Rugby Football Board, announced that he is to approach the International Olympic Committee over the next few days to seek the IRFB's admission to the IOC.

Speaking after an IRFB meeting in Vancouver, Pugh said: 'I have been advised by the IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch that the Olympic movement would welcome the inclusion of rugby as a sport.'

The announcement suggests that Samaranch has softened his attitude towards rugby union after making a number of disparaging remarks about the way in which the game is run.

Also on the IRFB's agenda has been the problem of discipline at international level, and several amendments have been considered. These included the appointment of a neutral representative as a sole disciplinary arbiter at each game; the citing of players in writing within 12 hours of a match; a football- style card system for referees; and a list of recommended minimum penalties.

In the Courage Clubs' Championship yesterday, Sale recorded their third League One victory of the season with a 22-7 home success over West Hartlepool. The visitors went 7- 0 ahead after six minutes when Kevan Oliphant converted a try by Tim Stimpson. But Sale took control with tries either side of the interval by their scrum-half Mark Warr and No 8 Charlie Vyvyan, and Simon Verbickas, the right wing, scored the third in the last minute.

In the League Two, Saracens maintained their lead on points difference from Waterloo with a hard-fought 17-11 victory at Newcastle Gosforth. Andy Tunningley, their full- back, supplied four penalties and the second row John Green scored a try for the Sarries, who certainly will not be resting on their laurels following Waterloo's 25-9 victory at Moseley.

In Wales, Llanelli moved up to fourth place in the Heineken League with a convincing 29-3 win at Newbridge, but two of their internationals - the scrum-half Rupert Moon and the loose-head prop Ricky Evans - went off with injuries.

Brian Robinson will miss Ireland's international against the United States in Dublin on November 5. The Ballymena No 8, who would have been an automatic choice for the team which will be announced today, has damaged the lateral ligament in his left knee and will be sidelined for at least six weeks.