SRU plans games with Welsh clubs

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The Independent Online

The Scottish Rugby Union is set to open discussions with their Celtic counterparts over friendly fixtures for the forthcoming season after the disbandment of the Welsh/Scottish League.

"There will still be the Celtic League, the Heineken Cup and an Inter-professional competition," said an SRU spokesman. "With nine clubs in the Welsh League next season, one side would have a free Saturday. We know, from comments from certain Welsh clubs, they are keen to continue to play the Scottish sides."

Paul Burke, the Harlequins fly-half and goalkicker, has recovered from an ankle injury to line up in tonight's vital Zurich Premiership relegation game against Leeds at The Stoop.

Burke replaces David Slemen and Quins will make two other changes from the side beaten 16-6 by Wasps last time out, with the centre Nick Greenstock coming in for Chris Bell and No 8 Tony Diprose taking over from Roy Winters.

Victory over Leeds would probably put Quins safe, ahead of a difficult final game at Sale on Sunday week. But if Leeds can repeat their success on home soil earlier this season, then they will leapfrog Quins, leaving the London side needing a win against Sale to avoid the drop, providing Rotherham, the National League One champions, are promoted.

The Tykes welcome back lock Chris Murphy from a three-week suspension, while the South African internationals Braam van Straaten and Japie Mulder team up in midfield.

Henry Paul has been recalled to the Gloucester side for tomorrow's West Country derby against Bath at Kingsholm as full-back. It will be Paul's first start since 30 March.

Pieter Rossouw and Robbie Kempson have been released from their South African provincial contracts with Western Province. Winger Rossouw will join London Irish, and prop Kempson will join Ulster.

Allan Lewis has been confirmed as the director of rugby at the Welsh-Scottish League side Bridgend.

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