THE sickening injury to Hamish Watson during Sunday’s World Cup game against Ireland ("World Cup refereeing is failing to meet standards, warn World Rugby chiefs", Herald Sport, September 25) should surely persuade the game’s legislators to consider a change to the laws. There have been other recent incidents where a player has been forcibly taken out at the fringes of a ruck or a maul and suffered serious, and perhaps career-threatening, injury as a consequence. Quite apart from the issue of dangerous play, which it unquestionably is, such action should be considered as the equivalent of tackling a player without the ball and thus a penalty offence.

In my own playing days, admittedly many years ago, if a player put a foot in front of the ball in a ruck or maul then they were deemed to be offside and a penalty was awarded – as still happens at set-piece scrums. This should be reintroduced as a matter of urgency to protect players. While it may be entertaining for spectators and television audiences to see players being flattened sometimes by not just one but by two players as happened to Hamish Watson, our players surely deserve more protection.

Eric Melvin, Edinburgh EH10.

Bitterness ahead

IMPEACHMENT of Donald Trump is being talked about again ("'Trump betrayed his oath of office'", The Herald, September 25). Let's be clear what that means.

If the House of Representatives were to approve articles of impeachment against him, it would then act as prosecutor in a trial before the Senate, which would have to reach a two-thirds majority to convict him if found guilty, before he could be removed from office. Only two US Presidents have been impeached, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998-99. Both were acquitted and survived, because the Senate did not produce the required margin for conviction.

Students of American history can find a detailed account of the proceedings against Johnson in Fawn Brodie's 1959 biography of Thaddeus Stevens, who led the prosecution. Bitter they were. So would be any such actions against Mr Trump, should they happen.

Christopher Reekie, Edinburgh EH4.

Ignorance abounds

DR Hamish Maclaren (Letters, September 24) is absolutely correct when he says that the system could be broken because "the typical political career is no longer fit for purpose". May I suggest it never was.

As a Clydeside engineer with more than 30 years' experience as a director of engineering companies I had many dealings with senior politicians, civil servants and council employees regarding technical matters and contracts. It was very unusual to find they were qualified on the matters under discussion, which was extremely frustrating.

This problem is not a new one, as my father, a Highlander and also a Clydeside engineer used to say: "Politicians, they talk and say nothing, we get what we deserve", and when any politician spoke on the engineering industry in Scotland he would remind me that "that man cannae tell a camshaft from a calm day". That was in the 1950s.

Brian MacDonald, Gartmore.

Chilling thought

I MARVEL at the hardy souls who bravely dook in Scotland’s icy waters in pursuit of “wellness”, and the scary sign inviting me to “immerse” myself in Loch Lomond which greets me when I pass through Glasgow Airport on my return from sunny climes begins to make sense (“Swimmers answer call of the wild in icy lochs in quest for ‘wellness’”, The Herald, September 23); but I am fortunate that my wellness is maintained by non-scuddy exercise, attention to creature comforts, good socks, a winter vest, and an occasional wee goldie and splash of Scotland’s pure H2O if wellness flagging.

Good luck to the increasing number of wild swimmers, but risking cryogenics while sentient, shiver me timbers, would have to be last on my bucket list.

R Russell Smith, Kilbirnie.