Nick Robinson's kicking skills steered Cardiff Blues to a 33-17 home victory over Connacht in the Celtic League last night. The 21-year-old fly-half landed four penalties and three conversions while his opposite number, the former Ireland international Eric Elwood, could manage only one conversion.
But the result appeared to flatter the newly-formed Welsh team who shared the game's six tries with their Irish opponents. Jamie Robinson, Nick MacLeod and Dean Dewdney went over for Cardiff while Conor McPhillips, who crossed twice, and John O'Sullivan touched down for Connacht.
Daren O'Leary, the former Saracens, Harlequins and Gloucester wing, ran in the first of four tries which helped to put perennial runners-up Worcester at the head of affairs in National League One yesterday after two matches of the new campaign.
The 30-year-old's effort was followed in the second half by further touchdowns from the centre Gary Trueman and the back-row forwards Gavin Pfister and Thomas Dean as Worcester inflicted a 40-14 defeat at Sixways on Orrell. Tommy Hayes, the former Glasgow fly-half who hails from the Cook Islands, kicked a total of 18 points for the home side.
Worcester top the table on points difference from London Welsh, who chalked up their second success of the season by winning 36-20 away to bottom club Manchester. John Swords, the Exiles' left wing, claimed two of their four tries. Exeter enjoyed an emphatic 42-21 home victory over Coventry, with Ed Lewsey crossing twice and Tony Yapp booting 17 points.
Gareth Rees has resigned as chief executive officer of Rugby Canada after only 15 months in the post and less than a month before Rugby World Cup 2003 kicks off. The 36-year-old former Wasps, Bedford and Newport fly-half won 55 caps in 13 years as a Canadian international.
Leeds v Bath (2.30)
Lots of new names and faces on show at Headingley, where Leeds will field nine new players and Bath eight. For Leeds, Australian Tim Walsh starts at full-back and former Scottish international Duncan Hodge at No 10. England's Phil Christophers and David Rees also make debuts, as do scrum-half Clive Stuart-Smith, locks Stuart Hooper and Scott Morgan and back-rowers Colm Rigney and Matt Salter. Bath's new boys are wings Lee Best and Brendon Daniel, scrum-half Martyn Wood, props David Flatman and Duncan Bell, lock Rob Fidler, flanker Michael Lipman and No 8 Isaac Feaunati.
Newcastle v Saracens (3.0)
England World Cup rejects David Walder and Jamie Noon will have a point to prove for Newcastle, as will Garath Archer on his return from Bristol to form a powerful second row with new captain Mark Andrews. For Saracens, the former All Black skipper Taine Randell makes his debut. Props Steven Sparks and Emiliano Bergamaschi both line up for the first time, as does captain and second-row Simon Raiwalui. Morgan Williams and Andy Goode are the half-backs, with Thomas Castaignède at full-back and Richard Haughton and Nathan McAvoy on the wings.