Rugby Union: Watt to miss Test in Paris

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The Independent Online
Watsonians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21

Glasgow High/Kelvinside. . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

FIVE days remain until Scotland tackle France in Paris and the selectors are at a loss as to how best to replace Alan Watt at loose-head prop. Watt, who at 6ft 5in and 20st is regarded as the biggest player in international rugby, retired suffering from a viral infection after 23 minutes at Myerside.

Watt complained initially of a knock on the ear and it was suggested his balance had been affected. His departure left Glasgow to squander sufficient chances to have generated the win that would have banished relegation fears. Later, when it was diagnosed Watt had a virus which would prevent him winning a third cap, Glasgow's misery was complete. Scotland had been banking on Watt to provide an extra option at the line-out while hoping his suspect scrummaging technique would hold up.

Duncan Paterson, the team manager, admitted yesterday that the Scots would not be rushed into nominating a replacement before the squad gathers on Wednesday, which is hardly a vote of confidence in the eventual successor. But options are limited, especially with Alan Sharp showing no signs of an early return from the leg injury which prevented him making his debut against Ireland.

On the basis that he understudied Watt in a recent A international, Boroughmuir's Grant Wilson should be the front runner, while the claims of Gary Isaac (Gala) or Peter Jones (Gloucester) cannot be discounted.

Watsonians: Tries G Hastings, Garrie; Conversion G Hastings; Penalty G Hastings 2; Drop goal Lee. Glasgow High/Kelvinside: Tries Kernohan, McKee, Malcolm.

Watsonians: G Hastings; R Cowan, S Hastings, A Garrie, R Baird; D Lee, S Johnston; J Munro, D Henderson (capt), N Page, M Rudkin, C Campbell, S Aitken, D Lahore, G Cousa.

Glasgow High/Kelvinside: C Little; P Manning, I McDiarmid (N Ross, 11), P Feddis, G Hawks; G Breckenridge, A Devlin; A Watt (A Wood, 31), M Kernohan, G McKie, D Mellor, S Munro, W Malcolm, F Wallace (capt), M Wallace.

Referee: R Megson (Edinburgh Wanderers).

France have kept faith with the side who lost 16-15 to England for Saturday's game at home to Scotland. 'One or two positions were open to debate but we went for consistency,' Guy Laporte, the chairman of selectors, said.

FRANCE (v Scotland, Paris, 6 February): J-B Lafond (Begles), P Saint-Andre (Montferrand), P Sella (Agen), T Lacroix (Dax), P Hontas (Biarritz), D Camberabero (Beziers), A Hueber (Toulon), L Armary (Lourdes), J-F Tordo (Nice, capt), L Seigne (Merignac), A Benazzi (Agen), O Roumat (Dax), P Benetton (Agen), L Cabannes (Racing), M Cecillon (Bourgoin). Replacements: J Cazalbou (Toulouse), F Mesnel (Racing), S Ougier (Toulouse), E Melville (Toulon), S Graou (Auch), F Landreau (Grenoble)