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Friday, November 19, 1999 Published at 22:36 GMT

Sport: Rugby Union

European Cup starts with a bang

Edinburgh Reivers 23-18 Grenoble

Edinburgh Reivers kicked-off their European Cup campaign with a scrappy win at Netherdale, while Leicester slumped to a 27-20 defeat to Leinster.

Edinburgh can thank Duncan Hodge for their victory, after he took advantage of familiar French indiscipline to fire his side ahead with six penalties.

Reivers should have made more of a first 30 minutes during which they dominated in both territory and possession.

Ace Abraham

But apart from one 50-metre break from scrum-half Iain Fairley which was halted close to the visitors' line, the Reivers were unable to breach the French defence.

Grenoble had no such problem, with prop Abraham Tolofua crashing through for two short-range tries either side of the break.

The only try for the home side came from winger Conan Sharman, after Fairley broke down the blind side to drill a kick downfield.

Hodge missed the goal which would have put the home side two converted tries Clear, and Tolofua's second clearly gave Edinburgh a scare.

Nevertheless, Hodge composed himself to fire over two more kicks, one in injury time, to seal the vital home win.

Leinster 27-20 Leicester

Leinster produced a shock victory over favourites Leicester at Donnybrook in Dublin to draw first blood in the European Cup.

Leicester scored the only try of a tense match as centre Pat Howard raced in after only six minutes.

It put the home side ahead after Leinster's fly-half Mark McHugh had opened the scoring with a third-minute penalty goal.

Interval lead

Tim Stimpson capitalised on the riposte, slotting over three penalty goals in reply to McHugh's second successful kick, leaving Leicester comfortably ahead at 14-6 10 minutes before half-time.

McHugh cut that lead with his third penalty goal and then he dropped a goal, while Stimpson landed a fourth penalty, giving Leicester an encouraging 17-12 interval lead.

But McHugh posted three penalty goals in the first 30 minutes of the second half, before Stimpson knocked over his fifth goal, leaving Leinster hanging on at 21-20 with 10 minutes left.

McHugh then landed his second drop goal and put the game beyond Leicester's reach with his seventh penalty goal in injury-time.

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Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

European Cup starts with a bang

Cooke blasts RFU 'puppets'

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