SCOTLAND'S two new caps, David McIvor and Neil Edwards, both 27,

played together in the team who lost the B international against Ireland

on December 28, but they have come to the Five Nations' Championship

team by diametrically different routes.

McIvor, Edinburgh Academicals' grey-haired flanker, has served a long

apprenticeship in district rugby whereas Edwards, the Harlequins lock,

has suddenly shot through to prominence in the past two weeks.

Edwards was not even in the original selection for the B

international, winning a place when Alex Snow, the Heriot's forward,

opted to follow the English trail rather than take the Scottish opening.

The Anglo-Scot, however, grabbed the chance with both hands to replace

the injured Chris Gray in Scotland's pack.

A notable game against the Irish was followed by an even more

impressive trial last Saturday. Duncan Paterson, Scotland's team

manager, commenting on the selection yesterday, went as far as to say

that Edwards did more than anyone to grasp the initiative for the junior

team in the first 15 minutes of that trial.

Edwards has come in the opposite direction from the way Snow has gone.

The Harlequins player was on the fringe of England's team. He played for

the London Division XV who beat the 1988 Australians and was in

England's training camp in Portugal the following season.

Thereafter he slipped out of England's ratings, perhaps too small at

6ft 4in. for the Sassenachs' liking, but the Anglo-Scots net drew him

in. The exiles' grapevine noted that his grandfather, George Watt, who

designed the London Planetarium, was from Dundee, though Gray and Damian

Cronin kept the Harlequin out of the Anglo-Scots' district team until he

made his debut this season against the SRU President's XV, the warm-up

pseudonym for Scotland's World Cup team.

McIvor also figured against the pre-tournament Scots, though even more

notably. He played for the Edinburgh Borderers in the 19-13 win over the

national XV.

Paterson complimented Edwards as a ''streetwise'' forward, a

ball-winner well practised in the tricks of the trade, and the newcomer

has another facility that the Scots will surely not ignore. With

Harlequins and London he became well used to the ways of Dick Best,

England's new coach.

Edwards has played only one district match whereas McIvor has worked

his way through 22 games for North and Midlands. His district debut was

against the South in 1986, while he was with Dunfermline, though he

began his club rugby with Glenrothes, whose second cap he will be,

following Iain Paxton, who found fame with Selkirk.

McIvor has been with Academicals since 1987, and since his debut he

has never been dropped from the first XV, though he briefly took time

out to try to convert to being a prop. At 6ft 1in, 16st 7lb, he has the

build for the front row, but he also has that sharpness of eye and foot

which, with a competitive willingness, has made him one of the most

respected wing forwards in Scottish club rugby.

McIvor replaces John Jeffrey, now retired from international rugby,

and Paterson had a compliment for the newcomer in comparison with the

Kelso flanker. The Raeburn place forward is ''very much in the John

Jeffrey mould,'' the team manager remarked. A Silver Fox for the White

Shark. Paterson also acknowledged that choosing the pack's back five

took up half of the selection meeting's time of more than three hours.

That was understandable when, especially after the national trial, the

selectors had a variety of options and permutation s to consider.

No thought, however, was given to Alan Watt as Gray's deputy at lock.

The selectors continue to see the Glasgow High/Kelvinside forward as a

tight-head prop.

Paterson, however, allowed that McIvor's club colleague, Rob

Wainwright, a first-half replacement in the trial, was looked at for all

three positions in the back row. The team manager considered that the

Academical breakaway would eventually have a future as an open-side wing

forward, though it was on the McIvor's flank that I had seen him as a

front-runner for the national XV.

Kenneth Milne's bulk was a crucial factor in the selectors' preference

for him over John Allan as hooker. ''Not only is Kenny two stones

heavier but he's a good scrummager with it,'' Paterson remarked. Yet it

is still a close contest.

Commenting again on the front row, the team manager refuted any

suggestion that David Sole's position as captain had been under threat

because of his holiday absence from the trial. The matter had never been

discussed, Paterson said with pointed emphasis.

He also had words of commendation for Alex Moore and Derek Stark, the

wings who challenged the incumbent Tony Stanger and Iwan Tukalo in the

trial. Stark, the team manager said, ''grew up'' on Saturday, coming to

terms with his game after his disastrous trial against Tukalo two years


A G Hastings (Watsonians);

A G Stanger (Hawick), S Hastings (Watsonians), S R P Lineen

(Boroughmuir), I Tukalo (Selkirk);

C M Chalmers (Melrose), G Armstrong (Jed-Forest);

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

A P Burnell (London Scottish), N G B Edwards (Harlequins), G W Weir

(Melrose), D J McIvor (Edinburgh Academicals), D B White (London

Scottish), G R Marshall (Selkirk).

Replacements -- P W Dods (Gala), A G Shiel (Melrose), A D Nicol

(Dundee HS FP), I R Smith, P M Jones (both Gloucester), J Allan

(Edinburgh Academicals).

Referee -- W D Bevan (Wales).