While announcing his squad for the opening two matches of the Six Nations Championship campaign yesterday, the Scotland head coach, Andy Robinson, paid tribute to the late, great Bill McLaren. "He was an icon of British sport," the former England coach and flanker said of the long-time BBC television commentator, who died on Tuesday, aged 86. "Growing up as a youngster I was inspired by his use of language. Our thoughts are with his wife, Bette, and the family, because they're a tremendous sporting family."
Indeed they are, and two of them will be involved in Scotland's training camp at St Andrews next week. Rory Lawson, the Gloucester scrum-half who already has 17 caps in his locker, retains his place in Robinson's squad. Jim Thompson, another of McLaren's grandsons, has not quite made the cut for the games against France at Murrayfield on 7 February and against Wales at the Millennium Stadium six days later but the Edinburgh full-back-cum-wing has been invited to join the 30-man squad for the four-day camp.
Robinson's squad includes two uncapped players, fly-half Ruaridh Jackson, 21, and lock Richie Gray, 21.
Across the Channel, there has been a return to favour in France's squad for Mathieu Bastareaud, six months after the centre was given a three-month ban for causing a diplomatic incident on his country's tour to New Zealand. François Fillon, the Prime Minister of France, sent a written apology to his New Zealand counterpart, John Key, after Bastareaud confessed he had concocted a story about being attacked in Wellington. The 21-year-old had, in fact, sustained a suspected broken eye socket in a drunken fall in his hotel room.Reuse content