Rugby Union: Hastings' captaincy rewarded

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HIS captaincy of the Barbarians against New Zealand last Saturday evidently impressed his own national selectors, because Scott Hastings was yesterday chosen to lead Scotland A when they play Italy in Rovigo on Saturday week.

Four of those picked for the 51-15 defeat by the All Blacks are in the A team, but it is forwards such as Alan Sharp, Sade Munro, Dale McIntosh and even the reinstated Lion, Peter Wright, who have the most to gain from this fixture.

The senior Scotland team will try to pick up the pieces against Wales in Cardiff on 15 January, when Hastings can now expect to be back to normal at centre after his reluctant and abortive move to the wing for Scotland against the Blacks.

Yesterday's selection could give the defending champions, Melrose, a vital edge in the McEwan's League. Their four- strong A-team representation means they can postpone their match against Boroughmuir, whereas Heriot's will have to do without the 6ft 8in Andy Macdonald, their only absentee but an absolutely critical player for them, against Currie.

SCOTLAND A (v Italy, Rovigo, 18 December): M Dods (Gala); K Milligan (Stewart's Melville FP), S Hastings (Watsonians, capt), I Jardine, K Logan (Stirling County); G Shiel, B Redpath (Melrose); A Sharp (Bristol), K McKenzie (Stirling County), P Wright (Boroughmuir), S Munro (Glasgow High/ Kelvinside), A Macdonald (Heriot's FP), P Walton (Northampton), D McIntosh (Pontypridd), C Hogg (Melrose).