Parks inspires fluent Leeds to first European success

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The Australian stand-off Dan Parks inspired Leeds to their first win in the European Shield on his debut at Headingley yesterday.

Leeds ran out 48-17 winners against their previously unbeaten Pool Three rivals, the French side Béziers. Parks collected an 18-point haul with three penalties and as many conversions following his recent arrival from Sydney.

The home side turned in a fluent display after losing 41-10 to Parma in their first European encounter last week, running in six tries. Chris Hall's ninth-minute try set the home team on their way. There were further touchdowns for the hooker Matt Holt, the scrum-half Scott Benton, the centre Tristan Davies, Hall again and the winger Dan Scarborough.

London Irish cruised to their second Pool Six win to move top of the table with a comprehensive 48-12 victory over the Italian side L'Aquila at the Madejski Stadium.

The full-back Ed Thrower, the winger Paul Sackey and the centre Rob Hoadley all went over for two tries each, while the stand-off James Brown collected 13 points with the boot.

Meanwhile, the French side Dax registered their first win in Pool Six, after last week's 29-22 home defeat to London Irish, with a hard-fought 26-11 victory in Spain against Valladolid.

Bristol went top of Pool Five as they condemned Neath to their 15th away defeat in Europe. Bristol led 10-3 at the interval, with all their points coming from their fly-half Shane Drahm through a converted try and a penalty.

Neath, who never seriously looked like scoring a try in the first half, replied through the Wales fly-half Lee Jarvis with a 15-metre drop goal 14 minutes into the game.

Jarvis reduced the arrears with a 35-metre penalty 12 minutes into the second period, but the Welsh side could not add to their total and lost 10-6.

The Italian side Viadana, new to European competition, registered their first Pool Five win with a 26-10 success over France's Bourgoin.

The Second row Santiago Dellape and the centre Ryan Pickering touched down for the Italians, with Ray McDonald adding 16 points with four penalties and two conversions.