Rugby Union: Drew's dash has Scots suffering

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DAVID DREW'S try in the eighth minute, the wing racing up the narrow side of an attacking scrum, proved decisive as Wales made exceedingly hard work of launching their senior schools campaign with a victory over Scotland at Goldenacre, Edinburgh, yesterday.

A big improvement in Welsh distribution and tactical awareness is certain to be prescribed before tackling England Schools at Pembroke next month. It was also a niggling encounter, providing a reminder early on that the season of goodwill is drawing to a close.

Soon after the kick-off, the French referee was obliged to separate two warring packs. Then, eight minutes after the interval, a touch judge intervened to signal foul play just prior to Tammas McVie, the Scottish lock, retiring with a head injury.

Moments later, Scotland opened their account with a penalty from the stand-off Martin Hose, who missed three other kicks, one from close range.

Given their monopoly of quality possession, Wales ought to have won comfortably but were frequently rattled by an aggressive Scottish defence and dynamic rucking. The flanker Keir Hamilton excelled on both counts.

Noel Thomas and the 19-stone Ben Ford ruled the line-out, while hooker Julian Power claimed the tight-head count by seven strikes to two. But it was to no avail as Wales proved reluctant to attack with the ball in hand.

Scotland, too, had their escapes, notably through the Welsh stand- off Lee Davies missing five penalties and a late drop goal attempt from under the posts.

The performance of the Scottish back row must have gladdened the heart of the watching John Jeffrey, whose keen interest was perhaps explained by the fact that three of the Scottish forwards - David McLeish, Niall Gallagher and Charlie Rutherford - are expected to play a leading role at his Kelso club over the next few years.

Indeed, the No 8 McLeish, who did some valuable tidying at the base of a Scottish scrum constantly in reverse, has already turned out twice for the senior Kelso team.

Such experience could be further enhanced this summer when Scottish Schools tour Australia. The venture is eagerly awaited throughout Scottish rugby, remembering how the last squad to go abroad to New Zealand, in 1988, has already produced Andy Nicol, Doddie Weir and Graham Shiel for the full international side.

Scotland: Penalty Hose. Wales: Try Drew.

SCOTLAND SCHOOLS: K Baillie (Hutchesons' GS); C Brims (Fettes), A McGregor (Stewart's/Melville), M Burt (Loretto), C Lawson (Galashiels Acad); M Hose (Stranraer Acad), J Weston (Merchiston Castle); C Flockhart (Stewart's/Melville), G Bulloch (Hutchesons' GS), D Grant (Dollar Acad), C Rutherford (Merchiston Castle, capt), T McVie (Edinburgh Acad), K Hamilton (Stewart's/Melville), D McLeish (Kelso High), N Gallagher (Berwickshire High). Replacement: G Perrett (Bearsden Acad) for McVie, 43.

WALES SCHOOLS: M Evans (Bassaleg Comp); C Wilkins (Glanhafren Coll), J Furnell, G Jones (both Neath Coll), D Drew (Christ Coll, Brecon); L Davies (Swansea Coll), D Hawkins; D Morris (capt), J Power (all Neath Coll), B Evans (St Martins Comp), B Ford (Neath Coll), N Thomas (Maesteg Comp), A Cummings (Coed Y Lan Comp), N Thomas (Llandovery Coll), M Williams (Coed Y Lan Comp).

Referee: D Gillet (France).