Round-up: Worcester and Bristol rise to the Challenge

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The Independent Online

Bristol and Worcester, currently top and bottom of the Guinness Premiership, enjoyed winning starts in the European Challenge Cup against unfancied opposition yesterday. Bristol continued their rich vein of form with a comfortable 27-3 Pool One success over Bucuresti in Romania, while Worcester hoped that seeing off Italian visitors Viadana 25-7 at Sixways in Pool Five might signal an upturn in their fortunes.

Both sides ran in five tries, with scrum-half Brian O'Riordan claiming a couple and Marko Stanojevic, Sam Cox and Luke Arscott also going over for Bristol. Meanwhile, Lee Fortey, Chris Horsman, Tom Harding, Ryan Powell and Aisea Havili did the damage for Worcester.

Leicester's 21-month unbeaten record at Welford Road will be tested today when they entertain holders Munster in Pool Four of the Heineken Cup. Their coach, Pat Howard, has sprung a couple of selection surprises, recalling England wing Tom Varndell following a loan spell at Bedford and naming former Munster fly-half Paul Burke ahead of Andy Goode.

Castres will field former England back Phil Christophers and Scotland fly-half Gordon Ross when they visit Wasps, the 2004 European champions, at Adams Park in Pool One this afternoon.

Northampton visit Biarritz in Pool Six without Carlos Spencer but reinforced by England hooker Steve Thompson's return.