Tributes for Hastings

RUGBY UNION
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The Independent Online
Leading coaches yesterday paid tribute to Gavin Hastings, who has announced he will be retiring from the international stage after next month's World Cup. Hastings, who holds the Scottish record for appearances and points scored, has decided to quit top-level rugby after he becomes one of the select band of players to compete in his third World Cup in South Africa.

"Gavin has been the rock of Scottish rugby for 10 seasons now. He is a huge figure both on and off the field and a gentleman of the game," the Scotland coach, Doug Morgan, said. "People wrote him off before the start of this season's Five Nations but he came back with an impressive display of character and skill that enabled him to contribute even more points to Scotland's cause. His efforts and productivity for Scottish rugby have been quite phenomenal."

The 33-year-old Watsonians player, capped 56 times, began his illustrious career by setting a Scottish points record on his international debut with six penalty goals against France at Murrayfield in 1986.

He went on to become Scotland's highest points scorer with 544 and beat his own Five Nations record with 56 this season.

But Ian McGeechan, Scotland's coach during the earlier part of Hastings' career, claims he would be remembered for his all-round rugby ability rather than being just a prolific points scorer.

"Gavin is a man of steel and a most astute tactician," McGeechan said. "He is particularly adept at dealing with the responsibilities of the modern player and captain. Part of his appeal is that he is very laid back, gregarious and friendly; he does not flap under pressure."

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