FOR any team to lose two props is cruel. Worse, it is beyond the

bounds of fair play by the fates for a scrum half also to have to drop


Those misfortunes have befallen Glasgow this week on the run-up to the

Irish tour. First, the two Stirling props, George Graham and Brian

Robertson, had to opt out, and then, little more than twelve hours

before yesterday's flight to Dublin, Brian Yates, Kilmarnock's scrum

half, withdrew.

As consequences, two props are among three newcomers on tour and Ewan

McCorkindale has been left as the only scrum half in the squad for the

matches against Connacht this afternoon in Galway and Munster on Monday

in Limerick. Last night Ian McLean, the Ayr full back, flew out to join

the squad in Galway, though as utility cover, he may well not play even

in Monday's match, which marks the formal opening of Young Munster's new


One of the debutant props, John MacDonald, will play against Connacht

whereas Ian McCallum, the Hillhead-Jordanhill captain, may have his turn

on Monday evening. Even the others in the scrummage vanguard have

limited experience in district rugby, and it was thus stating the

obvious for Richie Dixon, Glasgow's coach, to suggest that it would be

''a tough weekend for the front row.''

Yet Dixon, ever the optimist, is not disheartened. Philosophically

putting down any disappointment he remarked that that is what touring is

all about. In the district context it is the opportunity to try

potential before the championship.

His projected thoughts tended to dwell on the strengths, and he could

point to several of those even though, as he accepted, his team do not

have ''the hard core of experience.'' No-one among the players was

around when Glasgow were last in Galway, when, with Dixon as captain,

they beat Connacht by 15-3 in September, 1980. It was to be Dixon's last

Saturday match before his playing career was cut short by a leg break.

As a basis now, he has four Scotland B players, Derek Stark, Stewart

McAslan, Stewart Hamilton, and Shade Munro, and the coach is happy with

the mixture which has produced ''a realistic competition'' for places

that has been obvious in the four squad practise gatherings. On that

count Dixon could fault no-one for lack of effort.

To see the development of the likes of the two Glasgow High/

Kelvinside forwards, Munro and Derek Busby, is added satisfaction.

Munro, though not yet 23, has been further in rugby than any other of

the Glasgow forwards, with two B internationals, a tour to Japan with

Scotland, and a season in New Zealand rugby, and the latter, as Dixon

remarked, ''looks more like the Derek Busby we knew in the under-21

team.'' Three seasons ago Busby led from the front as captain of

Scotland's XV in that age group.

Preparing a representative team this early in the season carries

in-built problems. Dixon, however, has gone into it with the attitude

that his responsibility has been to draw out confidence in the players

to be ''willing to try things.'' Freedom of expression has been his


Glasgow go into this afternoon's game with a lead in the series that

began in 1980. Since then each side has had one win at Hughenden. They

know one another, with seven from Glasgow and four from Connacht left

from last year's match, but Limerick is new ground. Monday's match will

be the first in which any of the home Scottish districts has met


Connacht -- F O'Beirne (University College, Galway); B Moran

(Shannon), R Hernan (University College Dublin), D Guerrin (Galwegians),

E O'Sullivan; D Holland (both Corinithans), S O'Beirne (St Mary's

College); D Henshaw (Athlone), J O'Riordan (Cork Constitution), B Murphy

(Corinthians), M M F Moylett (Shannon), J Healy (Galwegians), M Feely

(Old Belvedere), S Creaven (Terenure), M Fitzgibbon (Shannon), captain.

Glasgow -- D N Barrett (West of Scotland); D A Stark (Ayr), I C

Jardine (Stirling County), S W McAslan (Glasgow Academicals), captain, P

P Manning (Ayr); E R J Stewart (Kilmarnock), E D McCorkindale (Glagow

High/Kelvinside); J P MacDonald (West of Scotland), K D McKenzie

(Stirling County), S A Baird (Glasgow Academicals), J S Hamilton

(Stirling County), D S Munro, J D Busby (both Glasgow High/Kelvinside),

J Brough (Stirling County), F D Wallace (Glasgow High/Kelvinside).

Referee -- T Moran (Connacht).