Rugby Union: Scotland happy to be positive

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The Independent Online
Scotland 85 Spain 3

KENNY LOGAN believes he is playing the best rugby of his career and after stacking up more than 150 points for Wasps this season he shredded the Spanish defence with five tries in Scotland's overwhelming victory on Saturday.

One more try for Logan would have broken two Scottish records. For the second successive week they fell four points short of their highest score - 89-0 against the Ivory Coast four years ago - while Logan's nap hand equalled the mark set by G C Lindsay against Wales in 1887.

A hamstring strain cost Logan the record as he retired with the World Cup qualifier - rendered meaningless by the fact that both teams had already qualified - entering injury time only to see his replacement, Shaun Longstaff, score Scotland's 13th try.

With Duncan Hodge landing 10 conversions, Logan's new-found goal-kicking prowess was not called upon, but he said: "I am just happy to be in the team. I've got my hunger back and it's great to be part of this squad.

"A month together has created a lot of team spirit and for the first time for several years we have 30 players battling to get into the team."

After playing in only two of last season's Five Nations' matches and missing the summer tour to Australia through injury, Logan returned on the right wing for last week's 85-11 win against Portugal, scoring two tries.

He favours the left, however, and a switch of flanks with Cammy Murray did no favours for the latter as he was twice put into space early in the game and failed to make best use of it.

Murray did race in from half-way in the second half following a break by Hodge, but there was further evidence that the real cutting edge in the Scottish backs this season could come from the lively centre Jamie Mayer.

The fact that there was a fair number of English day-trippers among the crowd of 6,524 confirmed the current apathy of Scottish supporters.

Political strife does not help and it was announced that Harvey Wright, the Scottish Rugby Union vice-president, has been appointed interim chairman of the SRU's executive board following Duncan Paterson's resignation.

One member of each of the three club associations is to be invited to participate on the executive board and Wright said: "This is an act to demonstrate the trust that the committee is looking to restore to the game."

While such words hint at the deep divisions within Scottish rugby, the players showed commendable spirit in producing a much better second-half performance than against Portugal.

Pertinently, Jim Telfer, the Scotland coach, said: "We are not kidding ourselves about the standard of the opposition. But players have gained experience and self-belief. They were always trying to play positive rugby and they have improved with every game."

Scotland: Tries Logan 5, J Leslie, M Leslie, Longstaff, C Murray, Redpath, T Smith, Townsend, Weir; Conversions Hodge 10. Spain: Penalty Kovalenko.

SCOTLAND: G Townsend (Brive); C Murray (Edinburgh Reivers), J Mayer (Edinburgh Reivers), J Leslie (Glasgow Caledonians), K Logan (Wasps); D Hodge (Edinburgh Reivers), B Redpath (Edinburgh Reivers, capt); T Smith (Glasgow Caledonians), G Bullock (Glasgow Caledonians), W Anderson (Glasgow Caledonians), S Murray (Bedford), D Weir (Newcastle), C Mather (Edinburgh Reivers), M Leslie (Edinburgh Reivers), E Peters (Bath). Replacements: S Grimes (Glasgow Caledonians) for S Murray, 66; A Tait (Edinburgh Reivers) for Mather, 70; S Longstaff (Glasgow Caledonians) for Logan, 80.

SPAIN: M A Frechilla (Quesos Entrepinares); Alberto Socias (Valencia Technidex), A Enciso (Dulciora El Salvador), F Diez (Liceo Frances), D Garcia (Liceo Frances); A Kovalenko (Real Canoe), A Gallastegui (Getxo Artea); J Camps (UE Santboiana), F de la Calle (Quesos Entrepinares), A Altuna (Dax), S Tuineau (UE Santboiana), L J Martinez (Oviedo), A Malo (UE Santboiana; capt), A Mata (Dulciora El Salvador), O Astarloa (Bayona). Replacements: R Bastide (Colomiers) for Diez, 41; V Torres (UE Santboiana) for Camps, 54; J Torres-Morote (El Monte Ciencias) for Gallastegui, 54; C Souto (Oviedo) for Malo, 54; Antonio Socias (Valencia Technidex) for Garcia, 63; O Ripol (UE Santboiana) for Enciso, 68; D Zarzosa (Dulciora El Salvador) for Martinez, 80.

Referee: S Young (Australia).

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