Manson's dismissal likely to have far-reaching effects

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The Independent Online
South 18 North and Midlands 12

The dismissal of John Manson for the third time in his career after 50 minutes of yesterday's inter-district tussle could have far-reaching implications both for the player and team.

Shortly before kick-off in a match switched from Kelso to Murrayfield at short notice due to ground conditions the Scottish Rugby Union issued a statement indicating that they would be represented in Europe next season by provincial sides. Ideally, the SRU want to field three teams of roughly equal stature but there is no guarantee this formula will be acceptable to other competitors.

If it comes down to recognised districts - and the Exiles will be ruled out due to club contracts - then North and Midlands' hopes of being one of those to fly the flag suffered a blow by losing after leading 9-6 at the time Manson was sent off for kicking his opposing prop, Gary Isaac, in a ruck.

The North and Midlands coach, Brian Edwards, admitted the dismissal of Manson was a significant factor in a try-less match but refused to condemn him. "They had been getting hands on the ball and preventing release. The incident was a classic example of that.

"Some people would have said long ago that he [Isaac] got his desserts. In my book he did what any player in the world what would have been expected to do."

There were 20 minutes remaining when South went ahead for the first time helped by much the cleaner line-out possession.

Although North and Midlands drew level with a fourth penalty from five attempts by Mark Mckenzie there was no denying South. Scott Welsh, who only learned he was to be taking the kicks on leaving the dressing- room, completed a 100 per cent haul with two more successes.

South: Penalties Welsh 6. North and Midlands. Penalties McKenzie 4.

SOUTH: S Welsh (Hawick); C Joiner (Melrose), D Grant (Hawick), S Nichol (Selkirk), K Suddon (Hawick); C Chalmers (Melrose, capt), B Redpath (Melrose); G Isaac (Gala), J Hay (Hawick), S McColm (Selkirk), I Elliot (Hawick), R Brown (Melrose), S Bennett (Kelso), B Renwick (Hawick), J Amos (Gala).

NORTH AND MIDLANDS: R Shepherd (Melrose); S Burns (Edinburgh Acads), A Carruthers (Kirkcaldy), P Rouse (Dunde High), J Kerr (Watsonians); M McKenzie (Stirling County), K Harper (Stirling County); J Manson (Stirling County), R Cairney (Stirling County), D Herrington (Dundee High), S Hamilton (Stirling County), A Grimes (Watsonians), D McIvor (Edinburgh Acads, capt), G Flockhart (Stirling County), B Ireland (Stirling County). Replacement: W Anderson (Kirkcaldy) for Ireland, 50.

Referee: J Bacigalupo (Edinburgh Wanderers).

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