Heineken Cup round-up: Kearney's tries keep champions on course

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The Independent Online

The Heineken Cup holders, Leinster, are heading for an interesting match against London Irish at the Madejski Stadium on the penultimate weekend in January. The Irish team's 39-7 win against the Scarlets at the Royal Dublin Showgrounds brought a bonus point to match the one the Exiles picked up against Brive, keeping the two sides level at the top of Pool Six. It should be a rather entertaining case of winner takes all on the final weekend of pool matches.

The Ireland and Lions full-back Rob Kearney scored Leinster's first two tries yesterday; the wing Shane Horgan and the centres Gordon D'Arcy (twice) and Brian O'Driscoll (also twice) also scored. Shaun Berne converted twice. Rhys Priestland scored for the Scarlets, Stephen Jones converting.

Back in Llanelli, at Parc y Scarlets, the match between the Newport-Gwent Dragons and Biarritz that was moved from Rodney Parade after its postponement on Friday night went the way of the Basques, 26-8. The scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili scored all but three of Biarritz's points with two tries, two conversions and three penalties – Damien Traille dropped a goal for the other three. Richard Fussell scored the Dragons' try and James Arlidge kicked a penalty. The result left Biarritz in control of Pool Two, 13 points clear before today's match between Glasgow and Gloucester.

At the Liberty Stadium, the Ospreys strolled past Viadana, winning 45-19 and collecting a valuable bonus point while they were at it. Tommy Bowe scored two tries for the Welsh region and Sonny Parker, Filo Tiatia, Gareth Owen and Nikki Walker scored one each. Dan Biggar kicked 15 points. Gavin Quinnell scored the Italian side's try and Garry Law kicked 12 points. The Ospreys are undefeated in Pool Three, with Leicester at home and Clermont Auvergne away to come in January.

The Wales tighthead Adam Jones played for the first time since Bakkies Botha totalled his shoulder on the summer's Lions tour. The Ospreys' coach, the inimitable Australian Scott Johnson, said: "Adam is probably blowing out of a different orifice than he should be, but it's great to have him back."

Northampton won 21-18 at Treviso to go top of Pool One before Munster's match in Perpignan today. Phil Dowson, Jon Clarke and Courtney Lawes scored tries for Saints but an Emiliano Mulieri try and a penalty try, awarded when the Northampton flanker Neil Best was in the sin-bin, made for a nervous end to the match. The Italian side's South African fly-half, Marius Goosen, missed a number of kicks that would have won the game.

The Pool Four re-match between Stade Français and Ulster in Brussels – eagerly awaited by all but the citing commissioners, after last week's feisty little number in Belfast produced two charges of gouging and a six-month ban for Julien Dupuy – fell victim to the weather. It will be played today, kicking off at 3pm, but Belgian fans will have to wait a little longer for their first taste of the Heineken Cup – Stade Jean Bouin in Paris, Stade's home, will now stage the match.

In the Amlin Challenge Cup, Saracens won 18-14 at home to Castres. Glen Jackson kicked six penalties for the Premiership leaders; Yoan Audrin and Paul Bonnefond scored tries for Castres, both converted by Tomas Bouquié. Rovigo against Toulon and Albi against Petrarca were postponed, Roma lost 53-3 to Racing Métro and Montpellier beat Olympus Madrid 42-6.

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