Rugby Union: Walker the buzzing B

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Netherlands. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

Wales B. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57

WALES'S long-running problem of the yawning gap between under- 21 rugby and the national team is at last being addressed by the B team, writes Our Correspondent from 's-Hertogenbosch. As Derek Quinnell, their manager, said: 'I think we are on the right tracks.'

Wales have adopted a B team in previous years, albeit one fixture a season on an alternative home and away basis against the French. Now there is an entire programme.

'I think the boys that have come over here this weekend will have benefited from the experience,' Quinnell said, 'and if in the future they find themselves selected for the national side I am sure they will be ready. The B team and its increased fixture list is certainly having the desired effect.'

One of those with an eye on a full cap is Nigel Walker, the Cardiff wing who has already capped his first season in senior rugby with 14 Heineken League tries. Some said he should have been in Cardiff and the Dutch were left wishing he had been.

He scored three of nine Welsh tries, not a bad return for an international debut. Unfortunately for Walker and the rest of Saturday night's B side, the success of their senior partners will probably leave them waiting in the wings for a little longer. But as Walker said: 'All we can do is keep trying.'

Netherlands: Tries Koenen 2; Conversion Bos. Wales B: Tries Bidgood, Howley, Williams, Walker 3, Davies, Ford 2; Conversions Williams 6.

NETHERLANDS: A Marcker (Castricum); M Nagtegaal (RCH), G Bos (Diok), B Wisser (Diok), J Esseveld (Eamland); M Michelsen (HRC), W Hanekom (Diok); M Tielrooy (RCH), Y Kummer (Diok, capt), V Dubbeldam (DSR-C), P Koenan (Diok), M van Loon (Diok), R Broers (Diok), T Suring (ARC), A Seijbel (Oemoemenoe). Replacement: M Geelhoed (HRC) for Broers, 4.

WALES B: I Jones (Llanelli); S Ford (Cardiff), R Bidgood (Newport), N Davies (Llanelli, capt), N Walker (Cardiff); A Williams (Swansea), R Howley (Bridgend); I Buckett (Swansea), R McBryde (Swansea), L Mustoe (Pontypool), S Roy (Cardiff), P Arnold (Swansea), H Stone (Cardiff), S Legge (South Wales Police), M Perego (Llanelli). Replacement: A Thomas (Neath) for McBryde, ht.

Referee: H Rohr (Germany).

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