Ruck and Maul: Fired-up Dragons turn loss of coach into five-try singeing of Scots

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The Independent Online

In the Magners League yesterday the Newport Gwent Dragons, who parted company with the coach Paul Turner on Friday, collected a rare try-scoring bonus point in beating a depleted Edinburgh side 30-22 at Rodney Parade.

Phil Price, Jason Tovey, Lewis Evans, Ashley Smith and Andrew Coombs scored tries for a Dragons team who were coached by Darren Edwards.

In the Aviva Premiership, Exeter ended Harlequins' run of nine wins with a 20-6 victory at Sandy Park. The flanker Tom Johnson scored the only try and Gareth Steenson's boot did the rest – the Chiefs have made themselves all but safe from relegation, which most thought would be their fate. Northampton suffered a third straight defeat, 29-15 at home to Saracens, and London Irish ended a run of six losses by beating Newcastle 23-14 at the Madejski Stadium.

Snoring fells Twelvetrees

England's loss is Leicester's gain today as the Premiership leaders travel to the bottom club Leeds Carnegie.

In past years, the Leicester centres Billy Twelvetrees and Manu Tuilagi might have been away with the England Saxons. But the dearth of second-string sides in the Six Nations – only Italy and Ireland have put opposition up against England – means the Saxons have no further matches until June's Churchill Cup.

While Twelvetrees has been grumbling at room-mate Tuilagi's snoring – "I actually went and bought some ear plugs from Boots because I couldn't handle it," he told the Leicester Mercury – not everything has gone the Tigers' way. Their executive director, Peter Wheeler, was defeated in his bid to become chairman of European Rugby Cup by the incumbent, Jean-Pierre Lux.

However, the French League clubs are furious that their wish to vote for Wheeler was ignored by their national federation. A legal challenge is possible so Wheeler – whose candidacy was based on impartially representing every English interest, not just Leicester's – may yet get his chance.

Sarries heading for New York?

Rugby was the third-fastest growing team sport in the USA in 2010, according to figures from the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. Participation grew by 8.7 per cent with interest particularly strong in the Mid-Atlantic region.

These eight eastern states between New England and the South include New York, which Ruck and Maul hears may be the venue for a meeting between Munster and Saracens next pre-season. A Munster spokesman would confirm only that the Irish province – who played in Chicago in 2007 and Boston in 2008 – had recently turned down a proposal to visit Newfoundland in June.

McCaw's foot is black and blue

The expanded Super 15 kicks off next weekend with a guaranteed extra three matches per team through to the final in July, but without the All Black captain, Richie McCaw, who is out for six weeks with a stress fracture of the foot.

In 2007, McCaw and 21 fellow All Blacks were withdrawn from the first half of the Super 14 to keep them fresh for the World Cup. The main concession to this year's World Cup is a trimming of the summer's Tri-Nations from nine matches to six.

But All Blacks may still be rested here and there, similar to England's players in the Premiership.

hughgodwin@yahoo.co.uk

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