Pack is shuffled by wary Scots

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The Independent Online


reports from Pretoria

Scotland insist on calling them the Ivory Coast, but the Africans are even more insistent that this is quite wrong. Under an act of parliament passed 10 years ago they are, in fact, the Cote d'Ivoire. "The name Gavin Hastings wouldn't mean anything to our people," Dominique Davanier, the French coach of the Cote d'Ivoire, said.

The countries meet at Rustenberg on Friday and Hastings, the Scotland captain, was asked what he knew about the Ivorians. "I know what colour they are," he replied. Yesterday Scotland, mindful of the banana skins upon which the national football team have a habit of treading, announced their team, which shows a reshuffling of the pack.

Two of their highly rated back row, Eric Peters, the No 8, and Iain Morrison, are rested. Peter Walton, the Northampton flanker who has recently recovered from knee surgery, is at blind side and Ian Smith, another Anglo-Scot, at open. Rob Wainwright is switched to the middle of the back row; the last time he played there, in the Five Nations in 1994, Scotland suffered a heavy defeat to Wales.

"We've picked a very experienced side," Duncan Paterson, the manager, said. "We feel it's the strongest side for this particular type of game." The selection meeting lasted an hour and a quarter and Paterson admitted there had been a "fierce debate", adding that there was nothing unusual about that. Although the prop David Hilton has an ankle injury, Paterson said that everybody had been available for selection.

In a bizarre accident in training, Wainwright, an army doctor, needed five stitches to a cut above his right eye after falling on the ball, but he will play on Friday. The back line is at full strength with the stand-off, Craig Chalmers, winning his 43rd cap, beating the record previously held by John Rutherford. "We'd like to win with a bit of style and put a lot of points on the board," Paterson said. "That could be the deciding factor in the group." The pack will be changed for the tougher matches against Tonga and France.

Kevin McKenzie, the hooker chosen ahead of Kenny Milne, said that Scotland had to win "at all costs". "My parents took me to Hampden in 1978 to give the Scotland football team a send-off before the World Cup in Argentina. They were a huge disappointment and if we don't qualify and qualify well it will be the biggest disaster ever. To return home early would be unthinkable." If Scotland finish second in the group they are destined in the quarter- finals to play New Zealand, a country they have never beaten.

SCOTLAND (v Ivory Coast, Rustenberg, Friday): G Hastings (Watsonians, capt); C Joiner (Melrose), T Stanger (Hawick), G Shiel (Melrose), K Logan (Stirling County); C Chalmers (Melrose), B Redpath (Melrose); P Burnell (London Scottish), K McKenzie (Stirling County), P Wright (Boroughmuir), S Campbell (Dundee HSFP), D Weir (Melrose), P Walton (Northampton), R Wainwright (West Hartlepool), I Smith (Gloucester). Replacements: S Hastings (Watsonians), I Jardine (Stirling County), D Patterson (West Hartlepool), D Cronin (Bourges), J Manson (Dundee HSFP), K Milne (Heriot's FP).