Rugby Union: Scots' revolution ousts McHarg

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THE BIGGER they are the harder they fall and big Ally McHarg, the free-roaming lock who was capped 44 times by Scotland, has lost his post as London Scottish coach following a players' revolution at the Athletic Ground.

The players, under Richard Cramb's leadership, decided to take destiny into their own hands at a time when the Scots are battling for First Division survival. McHarg and his assistant, Andy Cushing, both former club captains, were forced to resign after a meeting of the club's executive committee last Tuesday.

McHarg, who had to be persuaded to continue in his coaching role after helping Scottish win promotion last season, is away in India on a business trip and the players were unhappy with arrangements in his absence. Cramb, last capped as Scotland's outside-half against Australia in 1988, said: 'We decided to take a positive step and put forward our views at a crucial time.'

Cramb, appropriately enough, is a founder of the Bitter and Twisted Breakfast Club, whose members meet on an occasional basis for a lighthearted moan at their rugby lot. After this, membership should swell. 'We have four matches to go,' Cramb said, 'and it is now entirely up to us whether or not we remain in the First Division.'

Thanks to the restructuring of the leagues, four teams will drop into the Second at the end of the season and the Scots, with only West Hartlepool, Saracens and Rugby below them, are right there in the danger zone. 'We shall be adopting similar training schedules to Scotland,' the captain said, who has been able to call on the help of Damian Cronin, Iain Morrison and Paul Burnell, the club's current crop of internationals.

The Scots are away to Saracens and home to London Irish in their next league matches. 'Those two are the crucial ones,' Cramb said. 'Lose them and we could have problems.' Quite. Their programme finishes with a trip to Bath and a visit from Northampton.