Rugby Union: Hastings back for business

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The Independent Online
Heriot's FP. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30

Watsonians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

WITH impeccable timing before Saturday's opening Five Nations international against Ireland, Gavin Hastings produced a solid, reassuring performance even if it was insufficient to prevent Watsonians being dragged closer to the relegation zone.

Besides taking players from England, it appears the Scots have been importing traditional melancholy from Wales. Much of this apprehension is undoubtedly linked to Hastings's perceived state of fitness and to believe some stories is to suspect that first up the Murrayfield tunnel next Saturday will be a Zimmer frame closely followed by Scotland's new captain.

Hastings strong reaction was never likely to satisfy sceptics. 'There is no way I have a knackered back,' he said. 'It's an insult to my professionalism because it implies I'm trying to con people.'

His performance at Goldenacre might just silence those Hastings is applying mind over matter to conquer a disc ailment without recourse to surgery.

Besides kicking five penalties out of five from a variety of angles, Hastings pulled off a vital piece of covering to save one almost certain score and on another occasion launched a huge touch-finder.

However, he was powerless to prevent the Watsonian forwards being taken apart in the loose by Heriot's who, in battling to avoid the drop, have an unearthed a potential star in Gordon Lawrie, their 19-year-old stand-off. He started the season late after collecting an ankle injury but collected three tries on Saturday.

Heriot's FP: Tries Lawrie 3, Murray, Gilmour; Conversion Lawrie; Penalty: Lawrie. Watsonians: Penalties G Hastings 5.

Heriot's FP: K Whitaker; H Murray, D Stoddart, A McRobbie, H Gilmour; G Lawrie, M Allingham; J Bryce, K Milne (capt), S Paul, A MacDonald, S Gilmour, A Buchanan-Smith, J Robertson, S Elliott.

Watsonians: G Hastings; I Smith, S Hastings, A Garry (G Ingles, 59), G Anderson; D Lee, S Johnston; J Munro, D Henderson (capt), N Page, C Campbell, M Rudkin, J McDonald, D Lochore (G Cousar, 44), S Aitken.

Referee: K McCartney (Hawick).