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Regan facing fine after Barbarians appearance
PA Sport
December 2, 2007

England hooker Mark Regan will go before the Bristol board of directors tomorrow after leading the Barbarians against South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday having been given the week off by his club.

Regan defied the wishes of Bristol and Premier Rugby, who declined to release players for the match to show their support for the EDF Energy Cup, which saw Regan's club take on Leeds Carnegie in a dead rubber today.

The 35-year-old Bristolian will probably face a fine for his defiance but head coach Richard Hill believes that Regan will be available for consideration for Saturday's Heineken Cup tie against Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop.

But Regan faces competition for the number two shirt from David Blaney.

The former Ireland Under-21 international scored Bristol's only try in the first half of today's 13-13 draw with Leeds where neither side could progress to the semi-finals of the EDF Energy Cup and played in far from ideal conditions at a wind-swept and rain-soaked Memorial Stadium.

``Blaney had a very busy day, he worked worked exceptionally hard and was one of our best ball carriers,'' said Hill.

``Regan was just below me in the hospitality boxes and was giving David support but after he scored his try Ronnie (Regan) shut up. I think he was starting to get a bit worried. That is what Ronnie needs, a bit of competition.

``I do have a bit of sympathy for players when they get torn between club and country, there have been a number of instances like that, and he has got caught in between.

``It was a big honour for him to lead the Barbarians but the club have got to maintain their position so he will have to go in tomorrow morning and bring his cheque book.''

Both sides took the opportunity to rest a number of players ahead of next weekend's important games as they fielded starting line-ups with 11 changes from last weekend's Guinness Premiership clashes.

Hill added: ``It was a hard-fought contest and some of our younger players did very well. In terms of the game, with those awful conditions in the first half the 10-3 interval lead didn't look as though it was going to be enough.

``Then Leeds scored 10 points in a six-minute spell early in the second half and things were looking ominous but the youngsters and the older guys dug in to scrap a draw so I think we got enough out of it.

``James Phillips at number eight was probably the pick of the youngsters today. He`s just turned 20 and a big lump of a man and I don't think that he made an error today.

``He controlled the back of the scrum and we used him as ball carrier at the short lineouts and he clung on to it. To come out in those conditions and play like that shows a lot of promise.''

Leeds, with one eye on completing a double over Calvisano in the European Challenge Cup in the next couple of weeks, came back in the second half through a try from Norwegian international lock Erik Lund from close range.

Fly-half James Brooks added the conversion and a penalty in each half.

``I thought it was a really competitive game,'' said Leeds director of rugby Stuart Lancaster.

``In some quarters this was portrayed as a dead rubber but I think any game at this level is going to be one of those. I didn't treat it that way and I know that Richard Hill at Bristol didn't either.

``It was a great opportunity for both of us to try fringe players and young players.

``Some of these lads could be in future selections and I want those players that we have rested to be sat at home thinking he played in my position. It was a game to a certain extent dictated by the conditions.''

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