Rugby Union: Tigers stalk leaders

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UNOBTRUSIVE but effective, Leicester kept a firm hold on second place in the Courage League by beating London Scottish 18-11 at Richmond. Tony Underwood, who could have done with being more obtrusive on his England debut last week, sealed it for Tigers with a 68th-minute try.

SCORING the only try was a recipe for failure in the First Division. Bristol fell 9-7 to London Irish and two drop goals from Paul Burke while the West Hartlepool skipper John Stabler's third-minute try against Rugby presaged a nightmare rather than a dream. He missed five penalties and three drop-goal attempts as the visitors won 6-5.

NEWCASTLE GOSFORTH, owners of the last 100 per cent record on Tyneside, look likely to inherit West's place in the First. They won 12-9 at Blackheath but low scoring places them only fourth behind Nottingham, whose 78-0 frolic against Morley saw 12 tries distributed among 10 players.

LLANELLI went one better in the 82-13 deconstruction of Maesteg, crossing 13 times - but showed less inclination to share them out with Ieuan Evans claiming a Heineken League record six. Nigel Walker further pressed his claims to occupy the other wing for Wales, scoring twice in a 31-24 win at Pontypool that, combined with last week's defeat at Neath, ends any doubts about Cardiff's renewed position among the Welsh elite.

Bridgend, sliding the other way, won for the first time since opening day, beating Aberavon 18-10. But it was a less happy day for their forward Jeff Jenkins, suspended for six weeks. The Pontypridd skipper Nigel Bezani, dismissed with Jenkins three weeks ago, was banned for 14 weeks and faces a two-year ban if he errs again.

UPWARD mobility rules in the Second Division where Dunvant's 28-3 defeat of Tredegar and Narberth's 22-9 victory at Ebbw Vale kept former junior clubs on top - and in the Fourth, where Builth Wells made it eight in a row by hammering Garndiffaith 40-6. No less impressive is Havant's start in the Courage Third - four out of four after winning 22-3 at Broughton Park.