RUGBY UNION: Sedgley Park hosted an exhibition of attacking rugby, as Lancashire breezed past Northumberland 80-12 to book a place in the County Championship final at Twickenham on Saturday against Gloucestershire, where they will contest the Bill Beaumont Cup.

Led by skipper and former Tiger Steve Nutt, the Red Rose boys brushed aside the men from the North East at Park Lane with an 11-try demolition.

Nick Royle led the charge with a hat-trick of tries, while fly-half Alex Davies converted all 11 touchdowns and kicked a penalty.

The Lancashire starting 15 also boasted current Tigers Matt Riley and Juan Crous, along with former player Petrus Du Plessis.

Summer signing Garth Dew began the game on the replacements’ bench alongside former Sedgley Director of Rugby, Tim Fourie, who has now joined Rossendale.

Another departure is last season’s top try scorer, Peter Swatkins who has moved to Rotherham Titans.

“It’s a shame to lose him but we cannot offer him championship rugby and Rotherham can; if we could have he would have stayed,” said head coach, Rich Senior.

“He’s talented, ambitious and wants to play at the highest level he can and who can blame him. So we wish him all the best.”

The squad for the upcoming 2009-2010 season is taking shape with Chris Hall, Chris Wilkinson, Alistair Livesey, Dave Livesey, Danny Greenhalgh, Sam Simpson, Gareth Roberts, Dean Williams and Juan Crous re-signing.

They join the five signed from Manchester — Richard Oxley, Ed Norris, Nick Flynn, Richard Wainwright and Dew — together with home grown youngsters Dom Kohler, Matt Lamprey, Phil Largan and Paul Urmston, along with Adam Newton and Lisiate Tafa.

Add skipper Phil Jones and former Scotland centre Andy Craig — both of whom will be joining Senior to form the coaching team – and the squad is already up to 22, with only four confirmed departures so far — Glen Townson, Du Plessis, Fourie and Swatkins.

That leaves a number of last season’s squad, including the likes of Jonny Roddam, Ollie Cook and Matt Riley yet to confirm whether they are staying or going, along with one or two more news signings awaiting confirmation.