Hickie on a high for Leinster

Defending champions Leinster brought the curtain down on their Celtic League campaign with a 39-18 win over Bridgend at Brewery Field.

Bridgend led 15-10 at the interval thanks to two tries from the British Lions wing Dafydd James, who has been controversially omitted from the Wales squad for next month's internationals. In the second half, Leinster cut loose, with Denis Hickie running in two tries and Brian O'Driscoll and Malcolm O'Kelly claiming one apiece to add to Shane Horgan's first-half touchdown.

Also in Pool B, Newport chalked up their first victory of the season at the ninth attempt when they saw off Borders 24-8 at Rodney Parade. Borders led through a Kevin Utterson penalty and Nicky Walker try, but Newport eventually imposed themselves when Hal Luscombe and the former England back-row forward Steve Ojomoh went over. Jason Strange kicked four penalties for the hosts.

In Pool A, Arwel Thomas kicked 18 points as Swansea returned to winning ways with a 33-20 success over Ebbw Vale. The All Whites had conceded 160 points in their previous three matches.

Christian Califano and Franck Tournaire, erstwhile front-row colleagues with France and Toulouse, and Austin Healey and Andy Goode, former fly-half rivals with champions Leicester, are set to face each other in the Zurich Premiership at Vicarage Road this afternoon.

The Tigers' captain, Martin Johnson, will be anxious to avoid trouble. After the sides met two years ago he was banned for five weeks for breaking Duncan McRae's ribs, and last year he collected a three-week ban for punching Robbie Russell.

With Paul Burke and David Slemen both injured, the England centre Will Greenwood starts at fly-half for the first time today in Harlequins' visit to the bottom club, Bristol.

Northampton welcome back the England hooker Steve Thompson from a one-match suspension and the Scotland centre John Leslie from the birth of his second child for their visit to London Irish.

The England full-back Jason Robinson returns for Sale's visit to Newcastle but his team-mates Charlie Hodgson and Alex Sanderson will be missing with knee and shoulder problems respectively.

Worcester opened up a four-point lead in National League One with a 74-8 mauling of Moseley. Tom Richardson, deputising at scrum-half for the suspended Werner Swanepoel, helped himself to a hat-trick of tries. Dan Ward-Smith went one better with four touchdowns in Plymouth Albion's 39-36 win at Rugby, while another high-scoring thriller, in which third-placed Birmingham/Solihull visited fourth-placed Exeter, finished 35-35. Rotherham can pull level with Worcester today if they beat visitors Wakefield.

South Africa coach Rudolf Straueli has included eight new faces in his 26-man squad for next month's tour of France, Scotland and England. He has rewarded the Blue Bulls for winning the Currie Cup by naming three of their forwards – flanker Pedrie Wanneburg, lock Bakkies Botha and prop Wessel Roux. Also called up are flanker Pierre Uys, prop Deon Carstens, lock Marco Wentzel, utility back Friedrich Lombaard and centre Jean de Villiers.

South Africa tour party: Backs: W Greeff, B Russell, B Paulse, D Hall, F Lombaard, M Joubert, B James, J de Villiers, R Fleck, A Pretorius, J Conradie, N de Kock. Forwards: C Krige (capt), P Wannenburg, P Uys, J van Niekerk, J Labuschagne, V Matfield, B Botha, M Wentzel, J Dalton, L van Biljon, W Meyer, L Sephaka, D Carstens, W Roux.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect