Rugby Union: Wood turns screw in Cork

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The Independent Online
KEITH WOOD, a hero for both Ireland and the Lions, was the toast of Munster last night after his two tries against Colomiers in front of 8,000 spectators in Cork virtually sealed the province's place in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup. The 27-year-old hooker's double strike steered Munster to a 23-5 success and left them comfortably clear at the top of Pool Four.

Only Saracens, who will need to win when they visit Ireland in three weeks' time, can catch Munster, whose other touchdown against Colomiers came from their full-back Dominic Crotty. Ronan O'Gara supplied two penalties and a conversion while the solitary French score came when the wing Patrick Martinez went over.

The quarter-final hopes of Wood's former club Harlequins, though, appear in ruins after their 32-9 hammering by Montferrand in Pool Five. The French, surprise losers at the Stoop last weekend, helped themselves to four tries while all Quins had to show for their efforts were three John Schuster penalties. In Pool Six, Grenoble defeated Neath 21-10.

Toulouse, winners of the inaugural European Cup in 1996, look assured of a place in the last eight after beating Padova for the second successive week. The runaway Pool Two leaders entertained the 6,000 crowd at the Stade des Sept Deniers by handing out a 51-0 thrashing. The wing Philippe Lapoutge and France lock Fabien Pelous each claimed two tries while the prop Christian Califano and the scrum-half Jerome Cazalbou, also crossed the Italians' line. A penalty try, five penalties and two conversions from the former Saracens fly-half Alain Penaud completed the rout.

Another one-time wearer of the Sarries' No 10 shirt, Andy Lee, had a field day as London Welsh rattled up a 70-7 victory over visitors Rugby in the Allied Dunbar Premiership Two. Lee's contribution was 30 points. Worcester head the table again after a 30-22 victory over Moseley in which the kicking of Ben Harvey tilted the balance in their favour. Rotherham are second on the same points after their 53-7 romp over Henley and Leeds, yesterday morning's leaders, slipped to third, despite also having 22 points, when their visit to Wakefield was postponed due to a frozen pitch.

Sebastian Fauque landed eight conversions and a try as Castres demolished Bedford 56-6 in Pool Two of the European Shield. Ebbw Vale, just as dominant in Pool Four, showed no ill-effects from the journey to Romania with a 43-27 win over Steaua Bucharest, featuring a hat-trick of tries by Richard Smith. Sale may have left their surge in Pool Three too late despite winning 31-10 at Caerphilly, but London Irish could still overhaul Agen in Pool Seven after seeing off Roma 39-13.

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