ALAN Watt has dropped out of Glasgow's team for the McEwan's district

championship match against North and Midlands this afternoon, but his

withdrawal, more than half-expected, is not the only loss from the pack.

His Glasgow High/Kelvinside colleague, Eammon Murphy, also has called


Both players were injured in the Richmond match that Glasgow lost to

the Exiles on Wednesday. Murphy broke a finger without immediately

realising the extent of the damage whereas Watt hurt his left knee, an

injury that forced his retirement from the match. Ligament damage is


Two Stirling forwards replace the GHK pair. John Gibson now takes over

from Watt, and Malcolm Norval returns at lock for Murphy.

Any team playing three games in eight days, as Glasgow are doing, will

run the risk of being handicapped by such injuries. Robertson, for

instance, would not have missed a championship match if Glasgow had

played all of them on Saturdays instead of having to fit in a midweek


Nor would Watt's fellow cap, Ian Smith, have been left out of the

Exiles' team for the Mansfield Park match against the South today. The

Gloucester captain did not have time to recover from the shoulder injury

that was a relic of the Barbarians' contest with Australia last week, he

missed the Exiles' win over Glasgow, and, though now fit, he cannot win

back his place.

It is a foretaste of what the districts can expect when they contest

next season's new championship with their counterparts in the Irish

provinces. That competition is to be crammed into 11 days, with games on

two Wednesdays and two Saturdays.

Already players are muttering against those demands. Clubs, too, are


So that such views can be aired and consolidated, Melrose have invited

all 28 clubs in the first and second divisions of the national league to

a meeting on Thursday in Heriot's clubrooms at Goldenacre. The

intention, however, is not to rebel against the Scottish Rugby Union.

Each side -- the SRU and the clubs -- has the aim of strengthening

Scottish rugby. They differ in the means.

As for the current district championship, it has reached its halfway

stage with four of the five contestants in the running, although Glasgow

will have to run in a barrowload of tries against North and Midlands.

Try-scoring is the tie-breaker if two districts finish level at the top

of the table next Saturday.

So far the Exiles have looked most likely to win the title, the

trophy, the tankards, and the ticket to a game against the New Zealand

tourists next season. Even in their opening championship match, beating

Glasgow on Wednesday, they came on to an effective, efficient game,

though that should not have been surprising when they had 11 players

from one club, London Scottish, well versed in the upper flight of

English rugby.

Today, though, the South should be a more complete team than they were

in defeat by Glasgow last week. Craig Chalmers and Gary Armstrong are

back as half-backs, and the pivot ought to be more secure.

Glasgow's enforced changes switch the balance of the pack -- now five

from Stirling, three from GHK -- though one from the latter club, Walter

Malcolm, is seen as the key to opening the district team's potential.

The GHK flanker has been restored at blind side.

Derrick Lee, Watsonians' 19-year-old stand-off, is close to an

individual record in Glasgow's under-21 district championship match

against North and Midlands at Auchenhowie this morning. His total of 47

points so far in the campaign well surpasses the previous best for

Glasgow in a championship campaign, 31 by Calum MacDonald in 1989-90.

Glasgow -- D N Barrett (West of Scotland); R A G Porter, C T Simmers

(both Edinburgh Academicals), I C Jardine, K M Logan (both Stirling

County); G M Breckenridge (GHK), F H Stott (West of Scotland); J T

Gibson, K D McKenzie, G B Robertson, M Norval (all Stirling County), D S

Munro, W H Malcolm, F D Wallace, captain (all GHK), B Ireland (Stirling

County). Replacements -- S M Simmers (Glasgow Academicals), D R McKee, S

Blair (both West of Scotland), J Brough (Stirling County).

North and Midlands -- S A D Burns (Edinburgh Academicals), captain; M

A Cousin, P R Rouse (both Dundee HS FP), R J S Shepherd, J F Swanson

(both Edinburgh Academicals); B R Easson, A D Nicol; J J Manson (all

Dundee HS FP), M W Scott (Edinburgh Academicals), D Herrington (Dundee

HS FP), B H Bell (Highland), S J Campbell (Dundee HS FP), D J McIvor

(Edinburgh Academicals), J G Mathieson (Morgan Academy FP), D H Mitchell

(Dunfermline). Replacements -- A E Milne (Boroughmuir), A K Carruther, W

D Anderson (both Kirkcaldy), D R Milne (Dundee HS FP).

Referee - R S Clark (Stewart's Melville FP).

South -- G J Aitchison (Kelso); M Moncrieff, G P J Townsend (both

Gala), A G Shiel (Melrose), I Tukalo (Selkirk); C M Chalmers (Melrose),

G Armstrong (Jed-Forest); G R Isaac, I Corcoran (captain), H A Hunter

(all Gala), R R Brown, G W Weir (both Melrose), D J Turnbull (Hawick), C

D Hogg (Melrose), J P Amos (Gala). Replacements -- S A Nichol (Selkirk),

B W Redpath, S J Brotherstone (both Melrose), R J Johnstone


Scottish Exiles (London Scottish unless stated) -- M E Appleson; N

Grecian, F J Harrold, M Sly, D W Caskie (Gloucester); R I Cramb

(captain), D B Millard; A V Sharp (Bristol), L M Mair, A P Burnell, D F

Cronin, A Reed (Bath), N G Provan, D L M McIntosh (Pontypridd), I R

Morrison. Replacements -- J Hamilton (Leicester), I R Smith, P M Jones

(both Gloucester), D C M McGavin (Bedford).

Referee -- J M Fleming (Boroughmuir).