SCOTTISH rugby's New Year honours make scant recognition of the new

McEwan's district champions. Only the Stirling County pair, Ian Jardine

and George Graham, have come through from the Glasgow team who beat the

Anglo-Scots 18-15 at Burnbrae to win the title on Saturday.

Even those two are in the Reds, the junior team, and only four other

Glasgow players are in the reserves. David Barrett, Glasgow's

match-winning goal-kicker, is among those 15 invited to sit and wait. So

are three of Graham's forward colleagues, Derek Busby, Alan Watt, and

Brian Robertson.

Kevin McKenzie, the Stirling hooker, propped by Graham and Robertson,

has been bypassed, even though he was in Scotland's team in the drawn B

international against Ireland last month. He has been eclipsed by the

rising star of John Allan, Edinburgh Academicals' hooker, who, though

born in Glasgow, established his rugby career in South Africa.

Sympathy for McKenzie can flow on to George Breckenridge, Ewan

McCorkindale, and Fergus Wallace. On the evidence of the game against

the Anglo-Scots, the Glasgow High/Kelvinside trio merited places among

the trial reserves ahead of Richard Cramb, Stuart Jardine, and Jeremy


Breckenridge has proved an effective pivot for Glasgow in the district

championship. Indeed, I am not alone in believing that the Anglo-Scots

would have won the Burnbrae match and the title had they had

Breckenridge as stand-off instead of Cramb.

McCorkindale's sharp hands would be a joy to any New Zealand coach. On

that count, the GHK captain would rank ahead of Greig Oliver as well as

Stuart Jardine, and Wallace, though leading from No.8, did much at

Burnbrae to mark himself as an ideal blind-side flanker.

Viewed in isolation, the breakdown of the trial teams district by

district would seem unfair. Yet a Glasgow representation of half a dozen

out of the 45 players called to the trial is no more than a realist, be

he biased or not, could have expected.

Glasgow players knew that themselves almost as soon as they had won

the championship. In the immediate aftermath, Richie Dixon, the Glasgow

coach, warned his troops not to hope for too much. Their strength was in

the unit, and even as champions, they had no super nova to light the way

to individual honours.

Glasgow rugby has an indirect interest in the senior XV with Stewart

Porter's inclusion on the left wing. The 26-year-old former Kilmarnock

and Glasgow Academicals wing, now with Malone and Ulster, came through

the B international to challenge Iwan Tukalo and Lindsay Renwick.

Tukalo played against Fiji in October, and when he dropped out because

of an arm injury, Renwick took over for the match against Romania. Those

two now are in the Reds, with Tukalo having proved at least his match

fitness by scoring four tries for Selkirk in the 39-9 win over

Corstorphine on Saturday.

As for other points in the trial teams, the area of most general

debate will centre on the selection of Finlay Calder, OBE, the Lions'

victorious captain last year, and his fellow tourist, John Jeffrey, as

wing forwards in the Reds. Iain Milne, long the keystone of Scotland's

scrummage, also is in the junior XV.

Derek Turnbull and Adam Buchanan-Smith are the Blues' wing forwards,

flanking Scotland's other Lions breakaway, Derek White. Who knows,

however, whether the selectors are looking for Turnbull and

Buchanan-Smith to depose the more established pair? The more gratuitous

view would be that Calder, especially as captain, and Jeffrey are where

they are to provide direction and impetus for the Reds to give the Blues

the kind of competition that would make the trial all the more


Whatever Calder's fate, he will play no international rugby after this

season. That final curtain was hung on its rails when he intimated after

Edinburgh's 40-12 victory over the South at Myreside on Saturday that

that district match, his fortieth, was his last.

Turnbull has been out of rugby for the past two weeks with rib damage,

but he has assured the selectors that he will be fit for the trial. So

have Damian Cronin and Gary Armstrong, both injured in district matches

on Saturday. Cronin retired from the Burnbrae match with recurrence of a

back injury, though afterwards he said he was sure that it was nothing

that an osteopath's treatment could not rectify, and Armstrong had a

groin-muscle strain while he was playing for the South in the Myreside


Turnbull, whose last cap was against England two years ago, and Porter

alone of the Blues have not played in either of Scotland's international

wins over Fiji and Romania this season. Most of the old guard remain

despite the relegation -- if it is such -- of Calder and Jeffrey and the

absence of Craig Chalmers because of injury.

John Allan is among just six uncapped players in the Reds along with

Jeremy Richardson, Andy MacDonald, Cameron Glasgow, Paul Rouse, and Ian

Jardine. Rouse, the 23-year-old Dundee High centre, though the only

North and Midlands representative in the teams, undeniably deserves

inclusion as one who, like his trial partner, Ian Jardine, is a direct,

strong runner who meets the modern requirement to stay on his feet in

the tackle.

Finally, to return to Glasgow's first district championship since

1973-74, Barrett's six penalty goals not only edged out a narrow win but

also took the West of Scotland full back past two records for his

district. He scored 79 points in all matches for Glasgow this season and

50 in the championship, and the first of those figures, moreover, is

second in the overall list only to the 97 by Peter Dods for the South in


Yet even those substantial hauls, like the limited trial

representation, cannot deny the worth of a team effort. The next stage

is for more individuals to develop from the unit that they have made.

Dixon's Devils responded to Fergus Wallace's lead with no less vigour

than those who answered the call from the Glasgow captain's ancestor all

those centuries ago.

Trial teams

Blues -- A G Hastings (London Scottish); A G Stanger (Hawick), S

Hastings (Watsonians), S R P Lineen (Boroughmuir), S T G Porter

(Malone); D S Wyllie (Stewart's Melville FP), G Armstrong (Jed-Forest);

D M B Sole (Edinburgh Academicals), captain, K S Milne (Heriot's FP), A

P Burnell (London Scottish), C A Gray (Nottingham), D F Cronin (Bath), D

J Turnbull (Hawick), D B White, G A E Buchanan-Smith (both London


Reds -- P W Dods (Gala); W L Renwick (London Scottish), P F Rouse

(Dundee HS FP), I C Jardine (Stirling County), I Tukalo (Selkirk); I C

Glasgow (Heriot's FP), G H Oliver (Hawick); G Graham (Stirling County),

J Allan (Edinburgh Academicals), I G Milne (Heriot's FP), J F Richardson

(Edinburgh Academicals), A E D MacDonald (Cambridge University), J

Jeffrey (Kelso), G R Marshall (Selkirk), F Calder (Stewart's Melville

FP), captain.

Reserves -- G R T Baird (Kelso), D N Barrett (West of Scotland), R I

Cramb (London Scottish), B Edwards (Boroughmuir), S Jardine (South

Glamorgan Institute), A Moore (Edinburgh Academicals), A C Redpath

(Melrose), J D Busby (Glasgow High/Kelvinside), I Corcoran (Gala), C D

Hogg (Melrose), A J Macklin (London Scottish), G B Robertson (Stirling

County), A G J Watt (Glasgow High/Kelvinside), G W Weir (Melrose), G D

Wilson (Boroughmuir).

Referee -- J B Anderson (Currie).

McEwan's district championship

Final table



McEwan's Tankards for most tries -- Edinburgh 13; Glasgow 8;

Anglo-Scots 7; North-Midlands 6; South 5.