Rugby Union: Armstrong is back in the old routine

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Scottish Districts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24

Auckland. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

GARY ARMSTRONG gave Scottish rugby the news it had been waiting for by announcing his permanent return to scrum-half, subject to renegotiating a 'gentleman's agreement' with his club successor.

Armstrong had been persuaded to step back into the role on a one-off basis for Districts against Auckland at Hawick yesterday. But minutes after leading his side to a notable victory with an inspirational individual display, Armstrong said: 'It's good to be back in the old routine.'

Armstrong, who has played centre, stand-off and full-back for the struggling Jed-Forest this season, emerged from the dressing-room and said: 'I didn't intend shifting about as much as I have done and I'm getting a wee bit sick of it. I'll be having a word with the club but I'd be willing to return to scrum-half once I sort out one or two things.'

Armstrong confirmed that an early priority will be to make his peace with Grant Farquharson, the scrum-half who returned to Jed from Gala after seeking assurances from Armstrong that he would not be a competitor for the same jersey.

'There's a gentleman's agreement to sort out but the club aren't going well and I don't want to see them slip any nearer the Second Division,' Armstrong said.

At the moment, Armstrong is delaying making himself available for Scotland, but that only seems to be a matter of time.

Given he had not worn the No 9 shirt since last March, Armstrong's performance against Junior Tonu'u, the Western Samoan, who lasted a half before retiring, and the All Black Jason Hewett was a revelation.

It was appropriate that Armstrong should have claimed what proved to be the winning try after 52 minutes, diving in after the strong scrummaging Districts had shunted the New Zealanders over their line.

Barrett's conversion put the Districts ahead for the first time after they had overcome two tries to Tonu'u, exploiting the blind side of rucks, and another by Jeremy Stanley, which stemmed directly from a missed kick to touch.

Scottish Districts: Tries Shepherd, Armstrong; Conversion Barrett; Drop goal Barrett; Penalties Barrett 3. Auckland: Tries Tonu'u 2, J Stanley; Conversions George 2.

SCOTTISH DISTRICTS: S Burns (Edinburgh Academicals); A Turner (Stirling County), R Shepherd (Edinburgh Academicals), B Swan (Gala), J Kerr (Watsonians); D Barrett (West), G Armstrong (Jed- Forest, capt); G Isaac (Gala), M Scott (Edinburgh Academicals), B Robertson (Stirling County), R Brown (Melrose), M Norval (Stirling County), D Mitchell (Edinburgh Academicals), B Renwick (Hawick), J Amos (Gala). Replacement: C Brown (Jed-Forest) for Renwick, 21.

AUCKLAND: A Uluinayau (Ponsonby); W Sotutu (Marist), J Stanley, M Stanley (Ponsonby), M Brown; M George (University), O Tonu'u (Ponsonby); K Nepia (Marist), R Nesdale (University), J Akurangi (Marist), B Jackson (Carlton), H Bond (University), C Todd (Suburbs), S Tatupu (Ponsonby, capt, M Carter (Suburbs). Replacement: J Hewett (University) for Tonu'u, 40.

Referee: S Lander (Wirral).

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