Tigers' chance to steal march

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The Independent Online

Leicester, the English league champions for the last two years but unsuccessful after five seasons of European competition, have an outstanding chance to take charge of Pool Six in the Heineken Cup when they visit Glasgow Caledonians this afternoon.

Leicester, the English league champions for the last two years but unsuccessful after five seasons of European competition, have an outstanding chance to take charge of Pool Six in the Heineken Cup when they visit Glasgow Caledonians this afternoon.

Following Pau's 12-9 home victory in an exhausting though tryless encounter with Pontypridd which was decided by penalties - the four kicked by David Aucagne outweighing three from Lee Jarvis - the Tigers have an opportunity today to open up a two-point lead. Pontypridd, who saw off Caledonians last weekend, dominated the first half while Pau, Leicester's first victims of the campaign, played as if totally unfamiliar with rain.

The game soon became a physical contest, with Pontypridd's front row enjoying an early edge and the English referee, Brian Campsall, hardly misjudging a call. But the visitors gained no advantage from their pressure and eventually a driving maul by the Pau pack, led by the France hooker Marc Dal Maso, proved their downfall. Sven Cronk came in from the side and Aucagne kicked the winning points.

Pontypridd's coach, Ritchie Collins, complained afterwards: "It was really infuriating to see a game we should have won slip away. Our kicking out of hand left a lot to be desired and it was the only reason Pau stayed in the game."

In Pool Two of the European Shield, Neath bounced back from last weekend's mauling in Montferrand to inflict a 45-0 drubbing on visitors Connacht. James Brown supplied 20 points with his boot, while their five try-scorers were Dave Tiueti, Gareth Morris, Steve Jones, Richard Francis and Nathan Bonner-Evans. Bourgoin cruised to a 29-8 win at Viadana in Pool Eight. Laurent Leflamand, Lyonel Vaitanaki and Yannick Larguet went over for the French side, whose other points were kicked by Glenn Davis. Matthew Phillips crossed for the Italians and Darren Robson added a penalty.

Worcester head National League One by seven points after a comfortable 22-3 home success over Wakefield which featured touchdowns from Ian Calder, Earl Va'a and Chris Simpson-Daniel. As expected, their nearest challengers are Leeds, who clocked up an emphatic 42-6 victory over Bedford to move four points clear of Henley, who shaded Exeter32-24. Meanwhile, Manchester responded to the dressing- down they received last week from their coach, Alex Keay, with a 32-15 defeat of Moseley to which veteran full-back Steve Swindells contributed 24 points.

Hawick strengthened their grip on the BT Scotland Premiership with a 21-15 eclipse of the defending champions, Heriot's FP, while Dunvant slipped from first to fourth in the Welsh First Division after going down 7-3 at Aberavon. Pontypool, who beat Llandovery 41-12, are the new leaders.

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