Hodge dictates play

Watsonians 44 Boroughmuir 14
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The Independent Online
Within the next few days, details are expected of Scotland contenders who have already accepted the Scottish Rugby Union's contract offer irrespective of any "advice" to hold fire being offered by increasingly disillusioned clubs and players' representatives.

Among those players whose services the governing body will be keen to secure is the 22-year-old Watsonian Duncan Hodge, especially as the grapevine is humming with talk of a breakaway by Scottish clubs which would provide the players for an alternative international tournament.

Hodge is playing outside-half for Watsonians but his pace, vision and maturity are perceived as a threat to Rowen Shepherd's position at full- back in the national squad. While playing in the recent Student World Cup in South Africa, Hodge was offered a contract by Northern Transvaal. Against Boroughmuir at Myreside in the Tennent's Premiership, it was easy to see why he had such appeal. Hodge was the main beneficiary of some slack Boroughmuir marking and, given space, found little difficulty either going outside his opposite number or off-loading to the inside-centre Andy Garry.

How frustrating this must have been for the Boroughmuir pack, whose graft, particularly by Stuart Reid, earned a lion's share of possession until heads dropped in the second half. In defence, too, Hodge emerged with credit by marshalling his forces so as to snuff out any threat and force Boroughmuir into either playing across field or attempt to bludgeon their way around the fringes.

Watsonians scored five tries, including three by John Kerr, an A international wing who could drop down the pecking order if the Scotland manager, Arthur Hastie, succeeds in his attempt to persuade Jason Robinson to throw in his lot with Murrayfield. It has recently emerged that the Bath and Wigan star is qualified to play for Scotland through his mother, who hails from Glasgow.

Watsonians: Tries Kerr 3, Garry, Lee; Conversions Hodge 5; Penalties Hodge 3. Boroughmuir: Try Wyllie; Penalties Knight 2, Aitken.

Watsonians: D Lee; F Henderson, S Hastings, A Garry, J Kerr; D Hodge, G Burns (J Weston, 74); P Fitzgerald (A Kittle, 55), G McKelvey (capt), M Stanaway, G McRaild, S Grimes, C Mather, C Brown, J MacDonald.

Boroughmuir: C Aitken (D Wyllie, 60); S Reed, S Lineen, C Finnie, N Renton; A Knight, G Beveridge; R McNulty, N Dickson, K Allan, D Burns, P Jennings, A Cadzow, S Reid (capt), R Kirkpatrick.

Referee: J Bacigalupo (Edinburgh Wand).

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