GORDON Macpherson, West of Scotland's Otago lock forward, has been

granted an experience rarely allowed to Scottish rugby players. The New

Zealander will not miss a match after having been sent off.

Macpherson was dismissed in West's non-league game against Boroughmuir

last Saturday, allegedly for punching. West claimed no punch was thrown,

and a Scottish Rugby Union disciplinary committee have admonished him.

West can therefore keep him in the second row for the McEwan's 70/-

national league match against Selkirk at Burnbrae this afternoon.

It is unusual for the SRU to be so lenient. Even where the reason for

the dismissal is questionable, as in this instance, the union tend to

back the referee by imposing a token suspension.

West and Selkirk, going into their Burnbrae game, are each desperate

for league points. So are Kelso and Watsonians in their Poynder Park


Selkirk are propping up the first division, after only a draw with

Stewart's Melville in their credit balance. Watsonians are on two points

(after victory against Hawick last month), West on three, and Kelso on

four along with Jed-Forest, visit Heriot's, joint leaders with Melrose

and Gala.

Melrose ought to beat Stewart's Melville at Inverleith, but Gala have

the hardest game. Stirling County, only a point behind the top three,

visit Netherdale with forwards well able to impose themselves on their

hosts, though Gala have the backs, not least Michael Dods and his

intrusive pace that has promoted him as a contender for left wing in

Scotland's XV to play the All Blacks.

Stewart's Melville have lost Alan Kittle and Dave Clark for the match

against the champions, each because of an ear operation. Gordon Rigby

stands in for Kittle at prop, and Keir Hamilton, the Scotland Schools

cap of last season, makes his league debut in a recast back row.

Heriot's have recalled Richard McLean, Richie Lockhart, and Peter

Young to take on Jed. Young is back at Goldenacre after a year in the


Mike Hall, Boroughmuir's scrum half, has been forced into a prolonged

absence for a less exotic reason. He is to have a knee-cartilage

operation, and Graham Hepburn, too, misses Boroughmuir's Meggetland

match against Currie, because of a back injury. Andy Knight and Neil

McCallum fill the gaps, and Craig Finnie, erstwhile centre, is being

given a run on the left wing.

Today's league programme is being played in isolation, sandwiched

between the district championship and the All Blacks' tour, and, as an

indication of the demands on players in the next couple of weeks, two

high-fliers, Derek Turnbull and Bryan Redpath, are resting this


The Hawick flanker and the Melrose scrum half miss their club's

matches to ensure that they are fit to play for the South against the

All Blacks on Wednesday.

Turnbull, who took a rib injury in the district championship final

last week, has dropped out of the Hawick back row for the home game

against Edinburgh Academicals. Steve Domingo deputises.

Today, too, the Scottish Exiles meet Auckland at Old Deer Park, and

tomorrow Scots in various guises will cross the Border to see the All

Blacks play England A at Gateshead Stadium.

Scotland's national selectors will be taking a look at the tourists.

So will Johnny Brown and John Rutherford, the South's coaches, preparing

for Wednesday's game, whereas Scotland's under-21 selectors will take in

Gateshead's curtain-raiser, the age group's match between England and


So begins a hectic fornight. Each of the next two weeks really needs

an extra day.

* THE Bank of Scotland have agreed to put another #60,000 into

Scottish schools rugby over the next three seasons, bringing their

contribution to #200,000 in 12 years.

* JOHN McLeod, the former Glasgow High School stand-off now with the

Rugby club, is in the Scottish squad for the exiles' triangular under-21

tournament at Sunbury this weekend. The Scots are to play the Irish this

afternoon, as a curtain-raiser to the corresponding London exile clubs'

match, and they will take on the Welsh tomorrow at 11am.

Scottish Exiles' squad -- J Miller (Newcastle Gosforth), G Jones

(Harlequins), I Bruce (Orrell), J McLaughlan (Portsmouth), I Stent

(Nottingham), M Duncan (Blaydon), J McLeod (Rugby), M Dungait (Durham

University), J Whitaker (Tynedale), A Wright (Cardiff), N Broughton

(Bedford), S Begley (Blackheath), S Barclay (Bristol), F Wiseman (London

Scottish), M Hillier (Harlequins), M Stewart (Combined Services), G

Melville (Wasps), R Stuart (Bath), P Reynolds (Northampton), M Eley

(Blackheath), A Baines (Watsonians).