Januarie enjoys debut for exotic Ospreys

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The Independent Online

In Italy yesterday, in the Heineken Cup, the Ospreys beat Viadana 62-7 to go top of Pool Three, at least until Leicester play Clermont-Auvergne in France today. The Welsh region had collected a four-try bonus point by the 33rd minute and they scored eight tries in all.

Richard Hibberd scored two of those tries, with Alun Wyn Jones, Nikki Walker, Jerry Collins, Ricky Januarie, Tommy Bowe and Gareth Owen also crossing the Viadana line. Dan Biggar kicked eight conversions and two penalties. Viadana's try came from Gavin Quinnell, the son of Derek and younger-though-not-much-smaller brother of Scott and Craig. Garry Law converted.

Non-Italian names in Italian club teams are a fact of Heineken Cup life, given the difficulties of competing at such a level for clubs from the weakest league in the Six Nations. However, it is worth noting that the Ospreys, one of only four regional operations whose raison d'être might reasonably be presumed to be the production of talent for the national side, fielded six non-Welsh players in their starting team – both wings, the entire back row and the scrum-half. The last was the Springbok Januarie, who was making his Ospreys debut shortly after arriving as Welsh Rugby Union-sanctioned cover for a crisis in his position.

Two Wales players, Mike Phillips and Shane Williams (a winger who can cover No 9) are injured, as is the Wales Sevens player Tom Isaacs. A fourth scrum-half, Jamie Nutbrown, sat on the bench and stayed there. He was born in Christchurch, New Zealand. Liam Davies, the former Scarlet who was man of the match in the win over Munster last week, is not in the Heineken Cup squad.

Of Januarie, who arrived in Wales this week, the Ospreys assistant coach, Jonathan Humphreys, said: "We were delighted with Ricky's performance. He had only had a 10-minute team run with us, but as a professional he was excellent. We sent him a lot of information out to South Africa, so he was up to speed."

In the Amlin Challenge Cup, a late try from Rhys Oakley helped Leeds avoid embarrassment in the snow in Romania. The Premiership side beat Bucuresti Oaks 10-6, Jason Strange kicking a conversion and a penalty against two penalties by Florin Vlaicu.

Leeds's director of rugby, Andy Key, said: "It is probably not the best game we will ever produce or be involved but it was a pleasing result at end of the day. We have not been here before, especially in the adverse conditions, and we are still in with a shout in this competition." In the other match in Leeds's group, Overmach Parma beat Bourgoin 14-9.

At Adams Park, Wasps beat Bayonne 22-18. Tom Varndell scored the only two tries of the game and Dave Walder kicked four penalties, against four by Cédric Garcia and two by Craig Gower. The win put Wasps top of Pool Four.

Worcester received a shock at Sixways, losing 26-21 to Connacht. Ian Keatley, Fionn Carr and Sean Cronin scored tries for the Irish side, Keatley kicking three penalties and a conversion. Willie Walker scored a try, a conversion and three penalties for Worcester and Tom Wood also scored a try. Connacht, who are (habitually) bottom of the Magners League, are now top of Pool Two, which also includes Montpellier and Olympus Madrid.

In the IRB Sevens event in George, South Africa, British sides took home a full crockery set – England taking the Plate, Wales the Bowl and Scotland the Shield – but New Zealand, England's conquerors in the quarters, won the actual tournament, beating Fiji 21-12 in the final.

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