Rugby Union: Chirpy Chalmers

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The Independent Online
South of Scotland. 26

Leinster. . . . . 14

CRAIG CHALMERS, one of the more fancied candidates to inherit the vacant Scotland captaincy, staked an early claim when he led South of Scotland to a 26-14 victory over Leinster at Netherdale, Galashiels, last night.

It was only the South's second win over their Irish opponents in six meetings and revenge for a record defeat from the previous encounter four years ago.

On a damp, windless evening Chalmers proved the most influential figure as he kicked three penalties and converted his own try before half-time to open a 21-6 gap.

Michael Dods, who slotted the extra-time penalty which eliminated England from the Selkirk Sevens last Saturday, proved a jagged thorn in Irish flesh. He claimed two of the South's three tries, the first in only four minutes when he made his way over to the opposite wing to round off a handling move. The second came midway through the second half on an overlap.

Chalmers's try proved a highlight, however, and came after scrum-half Greig Oliver had dummied out of his 22 before launching Mark Moncrieff on a 40-yard dash up the touchline, turning a scoring pass inside to Chalmers just yards from the Leinster line.

The Leinster forwards enjoyed a period of ascendancy just after the interval but even then their more physical backline could make little impression on exceptionally lightweight counterparts. Eventually, prompted by Fergus Aherne's smooth service, they did break through when Ciaran Clarke stepped out of Scot Nichol's tackle to cross up the narrow side of a ruck.

South of Scotland: Tries Dods 2, Chalmers; Conversion Chalmers; Penalties Chalmers 3. Leinster: Try Clarke; Penalties Aherne 2, Hennebry.

SOUTH OF SCOTLAND: C Redpath (Melrose); M Moncrieff (Gala), S Nichol (Selkirk), G Townsend (Gala), M Dods (Gala); C Chalmers (Melrose, capt), G Oliver (Hawick); G Isaac (Gala), I Corcoran (Gala), S Ferguson (Peebles), G Weir (Melrose), R Brown (Melrose), D Turnbull (Hawick), C Hogg (Melrose), A Roxburgh (Kelso).

LEINSTER: C Clarke (Terenure Coll); D Jackson (Old Wesley), V Cunningham (St Mary's Coll), M Ridge (Blackrock Coll), M Costello (Terenure Coll); P Hennebry (Terenure Coll), F Aherne (Lansdowne); N Popplewell (Greystones, capt), J Murphy (Greystones), D Dowling (St Mary's Coll), B Rigney (Greystones), J O'Callaghan (Wanderers), C Pim (Old Wesley), P Lawlor (Bective Rangers), R Finnegan (UCD). Replacement: C O'Shea (Lansdowne) for Clarke, 78.

Referee: R Megson (Edinburgh Wanderers).