Hastings reinforces feelings of a nation

Scotland 45 Barbarians 48
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The Independent Online
Gavin Hastings made yet another profound contribution to rugby when he summed up a match in which he led the Barbarians to victory over a Scotland XV at Murrayfield. Under pressure to analyse the Scottish team's display Hastings, momentarily shedding composure, said: "We were here in memory of the people who lost their lives at Dunblane Primary School. That has to be above the manner in which Scotland played. It has to be. Let's not forget the reason why we are here."

For a couple of hours on Saturday, and in front of 32,000 spectators, a little light was let back into shattered lives after the gunning down of the 16 infant pupils and their teacher on 13 March this year.

Many had feared proceedings, particularly the build-up, might have turned into a wake for fear of being seen to make merry out of tragedy. In fact, long before Fred McLeod, the Scottish rugby Union president, took the microphone after the match and spoke movingly of the rugby community's desire to show it cared, events passed off smoothly and tastefully in a spectacle of running rugby.

Nothing should be read into a result when both teams willingly eschewed kickable penalties to put an emphasis on spreading the ball wide. In cultivating that approach, there was increased opportunity to marvel at how the Barbarians manage to draw together players from around the world and blend them into a scratch side capable of competing. Shrewdly, they fielded a recognised unit in the Leicester front row.

Scotland Tries Stark 2, Hastings 2, Townsend, Armstrong, Cronin. Conversions Shepherd 5. Barbarians Tries Hastings 2, Underwood, Pichot, Johns, McCall, Pene, Morrison. Conversions Hastings 4.

Scotland XV: R Shepherd (Melrose); D Stark (Melrose), S Hastings (Watsonians), R Eriksson (London Scottish), K Logan (Stirling County); G Townsend (Northampton, capt), G Armstrong (Newcastle); D Hilton (Bath), G Ellis (Currie), P Wright (Boroughmuir), D Cronin (Wasps), G Weir (Newcastle), B Renwick (Hawick), E Peters (Bath), I Smith (Gloucester).

Barbarians: G Hastings (Watsonians and Scotland, capt); A Bose (Mana and Fiji), Y Motoki (Kobe Steel and Japan), A McCormick (Toshiba and Japan), A Underwood (Newcastle and England); P Howard (Queensland and Australia), A Pichot (San Isidro and Argentina); G Rowntree (Leicester and England), R Cockerill (Leicester), D Garforth (Leicester), P Johns (Saracens and Ireland), R McCall (Queensland and Australia), M Gasuna (Mana and Fiji), A Pene (Kaneka and New Zealand), I Morrison (London Scottish and Scotland).

Referee: G Black (Ireland).