South African stand-off Luke Smith has finally received clearance to join Glasgow Caledonians and should be in Scotland next week.

The 26-year-old stand-off, who has a reputation for good goal-kicking, but whose provincial career with Natal and Northern Transvaal has been curtailed by injury, was registered by officials ahead of the European Cup deadline in August.

However, the final go-ahead only now has been given, Smith having had to provide evidence that he is Scotland qualified before receiving his visa.

''We don't expect him to be here in time for this weekend, but he should be some time next week,'' Glasgow Caledonians administrator, Bill McMurtrie, confirmed yesterday.

His imminent arrival should provide added incentive to current playmaker Tommy Hayes ahead of Sunday's meeting with Treviso which the superteam must win to sustain any hope of reaching the European Cup's knock-out stages.

And Smith should be well and truly settled in Scotland by the time three top-quality touring sides follow him from the Southern Hemisphere.

First in action will be fellow South Africans, the Springboks, opening the tour season against Caledonians on November 10.

However, arriving around the same time are the New Zealand Maoris, who yesterday named a powerful 26-man squad for their three-match tour of Scotland.

They will be led, as expected, by Waikato No.8 Deon Muir and although without any current All Blacks, they include seven New Zealand internationalists - Glen Osborne, Caleb Ralph, Adrian Cashmore, Norm Berryman, Mark Cooksley, Aaron Hopa, and Kees Meeuws.

''All of the names are familiar to me,'' Scotland coach Jim Telfer said yesterday. ''I keep a close watch on New Zealand's National Provincial Championship and all the players in this squad are top performers.

''They've gone for experience and the backs in particular have the potential to be particularly potent. Guys like Rhys Duggan, Osborne, Cashmore, Berryman, Randle, and Ralph are fine players.

''Some have come into inter-national rugby via the Hong Kong Sevens and I would expect the Maoris to play an attractive, open style of rugby.''

Telfer noted, too, that the Maoris would not be short on motivation.

Just what playing for the Maoris means to New Zealanders was outlined by their new captain.

''I feel incredibly proud to be captain, although there certainly is a bit of pressure taking over from players such as Buck Shelford, Arran Pene, Taine Randell, and Errol Brain,'' said Muir.

The arrival of the Springboks and the Maoris, as well as Fiji who face both superteams at the end of November, will bring some much- needed glamour to the Scottish rugby scene.

However, such a series of high-powered friendlies cannot disguise the inadequacy of the overall domestic schedule for our top players this season.

Admittedly, there have been encouraging signs that the club scene is beginning to undergo something of a revival in their run of league matches, interrupted only by the autumn internationals, which also include the World Cup qualifiers against Spain and Portugal.

However, working party officials will once again be locked in talks today attempting to put together credible proposals for the formation of a British League, which would give superteams a meaningful fixture list.

Since delegates from each of the Home Unions first met last month, English clubs have once again undermined the negotiations by stating their intention to stage their own European Cup competition next season.

It would be incompatible with an officially sanctioned British League, and may force the English RFU to take action against those clubs if there is to be any chance of the working party meeting its deadline of putting forward serious plans by the end of this month. The Maori squad is:

Cashmore (Auckland), Reihana (Waikato), Osborne (N Harbour), Randle (Waikato), Ralph (Auckland), Berryman (Northland), L MacDonald, Gibson (both Canterbury), Brown (Otago), R MacDonald (Southland), Duggan (Waikato), Flynn (Canterbury), Makiri (Counties-Manukau), Muir (Waikato, captain), Ford (Canterbury), Marsh (Counties-Manukau), Hopa (Waikato), Maxwell (Canter-bury), Cooksley (Waikato), Coe, Akurangi (both Counties-Manukau), McFarland (N Harbour), Lidgard (Counties-Manukau), Feek (Taranaki), Meeuws (Otago).