Round-Up: Dawson fit for date with destiny

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The Independent Online

Matt Dawson and Stuart Abbott will be making their farewell appearances for Wasps if the London side lose to Sale in the Guinness Premiership semi-final at Edgeley Park this afternoon.

Dawson, returning at scrum-half from an ankle injury, retires at the end of this season while his England colleague Abbott is moving to Harlequins. But the 27-year-old centre insists he will not lack motivation. "I am making my 100th appearance for Wasps, but I don't want it to end there," Abbott said.

London Irish welcome back former England centre Mike Catt and French flanker Olivier Magne when they visit Leicester in today's other semi-final. The Tigers make six changes, including recalls for Julian White, Harry Ellis and Ollie Smith.

Richie McCaw has been appointed Tana Umaga's successor as New Zealand captain. The 25-year-old flanker has won 36 Test caps since making his All Blacks debut in 2001.

Wendell Sailor has been suspended indefinitely for an unspecified breach of the Australian Rugby Union's code of conduct. The former rugby league wing, who has been banned twice over the past year for night-club incidents, was dropped by the Waratahs for yesterday's 19-14 Super 14 defeat by Wellington Hurricanes in Sydney. The NSW Rugby Union chief executive, Fraser Neill, said: "We're not able to give details of the alleged breach, though I can assure you it was one that NSW and ARU view most seriously."

Wellington's win lifted them to second in the table and secured home advantage for next weekend's semi-final when they meet the Waratahs again. Canterbury, who finished top, will host either the Sharks or the Bulls in the other semi-final. Elsewhere, the Cheetahs beat the Cats 28-23 in Kimberley and the Chiefs upset the Blues 30-9 at Eden Park.

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