Melrose reassure Scotland

Boroughmuir 25 Melrose 47
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The Independent Online
It is reassuring to know Melrose, on this showing, are oozing class and cohesion if threats regarding the non-availability of exiled players for international duty for Scotland this season materialise.

How the champions would cope with providing the nucleus of a team to run out at Murrayfield on 9 November must be open to debate. A Boroughmuir side whose challenge effectively ended after 10 minutes - when down 17 points - rank a long way behind Scotland's next opponents, Australia, in the world order.

The latest twist in the row over top Scottish clubs being wooed by their English counterparts (Epruc) in the battle to wrest power from the Rugby Unions involves exiled players being obliged to turn out for their clubs as opposed to representing Scotland. Rob Andrew raised the possibility by stressing that both Gary Armstrong and Doddie Weir have signed contracts giving the club primacy.

The Scotland manager, Arthur Hastie, takes the threat posed by Andrew seriously. "Having had our lawyers look at the exiles contracts, we thought they had release clauses. That no longer appears to be the case." So, a domestic league in which only Melrose now remain unbeaten assumes fresh importance, and one player who could benefit is the centre Scott Nichol, who on Saturday took his try total for the season to nine.

Boroughmuir: Tries Finnie 2, Lineen, Reid; Conversion Aitken; Penalty Aitken. Melrose: Tries Brown, Broughton, C Redpath, Chalmers, Bain, Shepherd, Nichol; Conversions Parker 3; Penalties Parker 2.

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

Melrose: R Shepherd; G Parker, S Nichol, D Bain, D Stark; C Chalmers, B Redpath (capt); M Ross, S Brotherstone, M Browne, R Brown, S Aitken, C Redpath, C Hogg, N Broughton.

Referee: N Williams (Welsh RU).