Rugby Union: Wasps grounded

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The Independent Online
THE TETLEY'S Bitter Cup holders Wasps made an uninspired start to their Allied Dunbar Premiership One campaign yesterday when they slipped up 16-8 at Sale. The South African No 8 Janneman Brand scored his first try for the home side while the rest of their points came from the boot of Steve Davidson. Two England internationals deemed surplus to Clive Woodward's requirements, the centre Josh Lewsey and fly-half Alex King, contributed a try and penalty respectively to the Wasps cause.

Kyran Bracken, who certainly is required by Woodward, has enlisted the help of Glenn Hoddle's favourite faith healer, Eileen Drewery, as he battles to recover from a back injury in time for the World Cup. The 28-year-old Saracens scrum-half said: "I felt something was definitely happening and when I left her house I felt very positive. It can't do me any harm, so I will continue to see her."

Worcester underlined their promotion potential in Premiership Two when they hammered Rugby 73-0. In addition to scoring one of his side's 11 tries, the former Bedford fly-half Tony Yapp landed nine conversions. But Rotherham, who narrowly missed out on the top flight this season, were upset 20-16 at London Welsh. The new boys Henley, flushed by victory last weekend, came down to earth 30-3 at Coventry while the other recruits from Jewson League One, Manchester, opened their account with a 24-19 win at West Hartlepool.

When Lee Jarvis went off just after half-time during Pontypridd's 51- 8 demolition of Dunvant in the Welsh/Scottish League Premier Division, he had already clocked up 20 points. Jason Strange also tallied 20 points and Brad Clark went over twice as Ebbw Vale crushed Caerphilly 54-24. Tries from Neil McKim and Jason Forster gave Newport a glimmer of hope before going down 26-20 at Neath, for whom Cerith Rees kicked 16 points. Arwel Thomas and Byron Hayward, rejected by Wales' selectors as World Cup understudies to Neil Jenkins, accumulated 24 and 22 points respectively in Swansea's 39-27 eclipse of Llanelli while Glasgow Caledonians got the better of Edinburgh Reivers, 15-8, in an ill-tempered parade at Gala.

Gordon D'Arcy, the uncapped 19-year-old Lansdowne wing and full-back, has been drafted into Ireland's World Cup squad in place of Girvan Dempsey, who has a broken collar-bone.

The BT Scotland Premiership champions Heriot's FP were upset 14-6 at Glasgow Hawks while last season's runners-up, Melrose, stole a march with a 12-6 success away to Currie.

In South Africa, Gauteng's Golden Lions lifted the Currie Cup for the first time since 1994 by beating Coastal Sharks of Natal 32-9 in a one- sided final in Durban. ACT took Australia's inter-state title with a 46-37 win over Queensland in Canberra.