TWO Edinburgh referees, Jim Fleming and Ray Megson, remain on

Scotland's international panel. But Ken McCartney, the Hawick referee,

has been deposed by Anglo-Scot David Leslie, writes Bill McMurtrie.

Fleming, the Boroughmuir referee who officiated in the 1987 and 1991

World Cup tournaments, was confirmed again as the best of the Scots when

he was named on Saturday to take charge of the England v France match at

Twickenham in 12 days' time -- his sixteenth international. Megson and

Leslie will be with him as touch judges, with the Edinburgh Wanderer

officially designated as reserve referee.

Bill Hogg, the Scottish Rugby Union secretary, explained that they

were specifically listed in 1-2-3 order as Fleming, Megson, and Leslie.

The ratings, though, could change by the time the SRU have to appoint

the referee and touch judges for the Ireland v France match to be played

at Lansdowne Road on February 20.

Megson has an international appointment further ahead than that. The

SRU named him as Scotland's referee for the World Cup Sevens at

Murrayfield in April.

McCartney's demotion is as much a surprise as Leslie's return to the

top flight. The only plausible explanation is that the SRU's referees

committee did not consider the Borderer to be fully fit after a recent

leg-muscle injury.

Leslie was downgraded from the international group a year ago. Before

then the SRU had had a panel of five -- Fleming, Brian Anderson, Megson,

McCartney, and Leslie -- but the numbers had to be reduced to three

because of a ruling by the Five Nations' Championship committee. By

then, Anderson, who, like Fleming, took part in the two World Cup

tournaments, had retired.

Despite omission from

the international panel, McCartney remains among the SRU's top six,

and Eddie Murray, the Greenock Wanderers referee, has been promoted to

that number. So has Megson's club colleague, John Bacigalupo, who will

do the England B v France B match at Leicester a week on Friday, the

evening before the countries' Twickenham international.

Those six, officially graded as A+, were also named on Saturday. It

was the first time the SRU had announced such a group, though it is

known that earlier this season Lorn Crerar, the Glasgow High/ Kelvinside

referee, and Chuck Muir, from Langholm, were in the six ahead of Murray

and Bacigalupo. Crerar, however, has only recently returned to

refereeing after injury whereas Muir had to hand over the whistle at

half-time in a district match in recent weeks.

On Saturday, too, Bacigalupo, Fleming, and McCartney were named to

make up a reserve pool for the World Cup Sevens, with Leslie listed as a