Sole banned until end of season

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The Independent Online

David Sole, the former Scotland captain, has been suspended until the end of the season for bringing the game into disrepute.

The ban, imposed by the Scottish Rugby Union after Sole's outspoken criticism of a referee, means he will be unable to coach Edinburgh Academicals again until the start of next season.

Sole, 34, had said that the actions of the referee, Colin Henderson, in last month's league match between Academicals and Melrose at Raeburn Place were "tantamount to cheating".

Henderson awarded nine penalties against Academicals in injury time, from which Melrose eventually scored to win.

Sole's outburst brought an immediate backlash from the international referee Ray Megson, who indicated that he would not referee any Edinburgh Academicals' match unless some action was taken.

An SRU statement issued today said: "The sentence reflects the SRU's policy of providing the fullest support for referees, and the absolute priority to promote good behaviour on and off the field.

"Concern was expressed that despite opportunities being given to apologise to the referee, David Sole was unable to attend a meeting but gave a written explanation of his remarks instead and has not apologised."

Sole, who represented Scotland 44 times between 1986 and 1992 and who played three times for the British Lions, was unavailable for comment.

n Stirling County must win by 43 points against Heriot's FP at Goldenacre today if they are to retain the Tennents Championship title. If they fall short, the title goes to Melrose.