Laing's late drop seals title

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The Independent Online
Edinburgh 16

Scottish Exiles 19

A drop goal three minutes from no-side by Stuart Laing earned the Exiles a victory over a persistent and proud Edinburgh side and set the seal on a victorious Inter-District Championship campaign.

Following the fiasco 48 hours earlier when Murrayfield Stadium's undersoil heating developed a fault and an Exiles match with the North and Midlands went ahead on a back pitch, officials were keen to stress a system had been devised to ensure there is norepetition. In future a warning will be flashed if the blanket malfunctions.

Meanwhile, neither side rang many alarm bells last night in a match of numerous errors hampered by some pernickety and inconsistent refereeing. But the joyous celebrations which greeted the final whistle reflected not only the fact that it was the Exilesfirst title since entering the competition in 1981-82, but also a measure of relief perhaps.

Although Edinburgh, who had also entered the match unbeaten, needed to score eight tries to leapfrog their opponents, anything other than victory would have proved an anticlimax and the Exiles had actually changed a winning team specifically to give the flanker Ian Smith a game.

Edinburgh pushed their more experience rivals all the way, a long-range penalty by Gavin Hastings dropping just short with the last kick, but could have no complaints as Andy Reed and Damian Cronin proved decisive in the line-out.

Edinburgh: Try Gilmour; Conversion Hastings; Penalties Hastings 3. Scottish Exiles: Try Appleson; Conversion Laing; Penalties Laing 3; Drop goal Laing.

EDINBURGH: G Hastings (Watsonians); H Gilmour, A McRobbie (Heriot's), P Flockhart (Stewart's/Melville), C Glasgow (Heriot's); D Hodge (Watsonians), G Burns (Stewart's/Melville); G Wilson (Boroughmuir), K Milne, S Paul (Heriot's), J Richardson (Edinburgh Acads, capt), A Macdonald (Heriot's), B Ward (Currie), S Reid (Boroughmuir), G Dall (Heriot's).

SCOTTISH EXILES: G Fraser (Waterloo); M Kemp (Saracens), M Craig (Waterloo), R Erickson (London Scottish), M Appleson (Sale); S Laing (Instonians), K Troup (London Scottish); D Hilton (Bath), L Mair (London Scottish), P Burnell (London Scottish), A Reed (Bath, capt), D Cronin (Bourges), D Blyth ((Waterloo), E Peters (Bath), I Smith (Gloucester).

Referee: C Muir (Langholm).

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