Rugby Union: Watson pushes official on exit

Gloucester 29 London Scottish 16
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The Independent Online
MICK WATSON, the London Scottish lock, could face a lengthy ban this morning after his ill-advised act of pushing the fourth official aside on his way to the sin-bin at Kingsholm yesterday.

Watson had been shown the white card for stamping on the ankle of his opposite number, Mark Cornwell, in the final minute of a poor quality match. As the fourth official, Gloucester society referee Andy Malpas indicated that Watson should return to the dressing-room he was seen to push Mr Malpas aside.

The referee, Graham Hughes, said afterwards he would be including the incident in his report. Abuse of an official in any sport is a serious offence. In 1996 Neil Back was handed a six-month ban for pushing referee Steve Lander in the back after the Pilkington Cup final between Leicester and Bath.

It was a foolish end to a sad day for London Scottish. Gloucester looked ragged for much of the game and early on they were positively bad. Had it not been for the fine goal-kicking of Simon Mannix who claimed 19 points, they would have been in trouble.

Gloucester's tackling was substandard. Crucial hits were missed, and so were passes. But as the game moved into the final quarter Scottish suddenly fell apart and Gloucester were flattered with 20 points in the last 20 minutes.

Their best moment came when the otherwise immaculate Scottish full-back Iain McAusland failed to pick up a Mannix kick ahead. Philippe Saint- Andre did and his soft try was converted by Mannix. Thereafter Scottish (and in particular Watson) lost their heads, their discipline and any realistic chance of doubling their quota of victories this season.

The jolt of a 13th-minute try by the Scottish captain, Simon Holmes, converted by McAusland, who also kicked three penalties, could not be consolidated. This despite Gloucester being rocked backwards by the ferocity of the London Scottish approach, particularly the forwards who competed savagely for everything.

Gloucester: Tries Saint-Andre, Dawling; Conversions Mannix 2; Penalties Mannix 5. London Scottish: Try Holmes; Conversion McAusland; Penalties McAusland 3.

Gloucester: A Lumsden; R Greenslade-Jones, T Fanolua (C Catling, 29), R Tombs, P Saint-Andre (M Kimber, 69); S Mannix, I Sanders (S Benton, 63); T Windo, N McCarthy, A Deacon, M Cornwell, D Sims (capt; R Fidler, 41), E Pearce (S Devereux, 41), S Ojomoh, A Dawling.

London Scottish: I McAusland; K Milligan, R Davies, B Hepi (R Eriksson, 66), L Goodwin; S Binns, G Easterby; P Johnstone, D Rudham, P Burnell, E Jones (G Manson-Bishop, 66), M Watson, S Fenn, R Hunter, S Holmes (capt).

Referee: G Hughes (Manchester).

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