Rugby Union: Dods tempers Gala's relief

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Stewart's/Melville FP. . .21

Gala. . . . . . . . . . . 22

GALA'S relief at gaining two points away from home in a season when six teams will be relegated was watered down yesterday when their international full-back and captain, Mike Dods, had his left leg put in plaster after damaging knee ligaments.

Dods took a knock in the final seconds at Inverleith just after Dougie Wyllie had failed with a conversion attempt 15 metres in from touch which would have put Stewart's Melville ahead for the first time.

The injury to Dods is yet another worry for Scotland's selectors already denied key personnel through injury for the visit of South Africa in November.

Gary Armstrong, Gregor Townsend and Andy Nicol are ruled out while current caps Kenny Logan and Shade Munro also missed Saturday's league kick-off. Receiving hospital treatment alongside Dods was the capped flanker, Carl Hogg, who is now out for six weeks after dislocating a shoulder in Melrose's 22-9 win over Currie.

Speculation is arising as to whether some players are victims of overtraining, given the pressures of trying to secure a place in a new eight-team Premier Division next season. Fears that jockeying for position would lead to sterile rugby were unfounded, however, on the evidence of Gala's victory.

'Gavin Hastings is claiming there is too much talk of pressure and it is time for everyone to take more responsibility,' Dods said. 'I disagree. I think there is extra pressure and it was a huge relief to take every chance going and come away with a victory at Stewart's/Melville.'

Dods's injury may see Gala trying to hasten the impending arrival of two recruits from New Zealand at a time when the Scottish Rugby Union is poised to follow the other home unions and finally insist on a registration period for players coming in from abroad.

Stewart's Melville FP: Tries Pollock, Rigby, Wyllie; Penalties Wyllie 2. Gala: Tries Hogg, Corcoran; Penalties Dods 4.

Stewart's Melville FP: G Stirling; N Penny, L Hamilton, F Pollock, D Bull; D Wyllie, G Burns; R McNulty, I McLeod, G Rigby, B Gordon, W Faulds, M Paton, F Calder, D Clark.

Gala: M Dods; C Dalgleish, J Turnbull, B Swan, G Waddell; D Changleng, G Farquharson; A Johnston, I Corcoran, H Hunter, R Hogg, G Paxton, N Crooks (J Laing, 53), T Weir, M Ballantyne.

Referee: C Muir (Langholm).

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