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International News – Paterson Axed As Scottish Captain

International News – Paterson Axed As Scottish Captain

Scotland have axed Chris Paterson as skipper and
put his Edinburgh team-mate Scott Murray in charge for the upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Scotland have axed Chris Paterson as skipper and
put his Edinburgh team-mate Scott Murray in charge for the upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Paterson, appointed when Australian Matt Williams took over from
McGeechan as Scotland coach after last year’s World Cup, had to
settle for
being named as one of four vice-captains, alongside Gordon Bulloch,
Mike Blair
and Tom Smith.

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The centre/full-back has paid the price for Scotland’s failure to
win a
game in this season’s Six Nations campaign.
Lock forward Murray was regarded as one of the few players to
enhance his
reputation in the tournament and his appointment as captain came
after he was named as Scotland’s player of the year for the third

Williams attempted to soften the blow of Paterson’s axing,
insisting: “This
decision is no reflection on Chris Paterson.
I said we would be moving the captaincy around and Mossy
(Paterson) has
done a fine job and has moved forward as a leader.”

Among the prominent absentees from the tour through injury are New
Zealand-born goalkicker Brendan Laney, Newcastle’s highly-rated
flanker Andy
and regular number eight Simon Taylor.

Among 12 uncapped players in the squad is Saracens centre Robbie
was born in New Zealand but qualifies as his father was born in

“With the retirement of so many backs since the last World
Cup we have been
casting our net wider in the search for Scottish players,”
Williams admitted.
“Robbie is currently playing in the English Premiership and
this tour is
about development. His age puts him in the right bracket for Rugby
World Cup
2007 and he can also play full-back or stand-off.”

The other 11 uncapped players are Joel Brannigan, centre Stephen
back-row forward Scott Gray, locks Craig Hamilton and Alastair
Kellock, wing
Sean Lamont, lock Scott Macleod, centre Graeme Morrison, full-back
Morton, prop Euan Murray and wing Hugo Southwell.

Williams added: “The point about this tour is that it is part
of our four
year plan that we devised last August to take us towards the next
World Cup.
This is our big tour of this four-year period.”
Although 40 players will fly out to Australia, ten of them will
return home
before the two Tests against the Wallabies. Scotland will also play a
against Samoa in New Zealand.

Scotland Squad:
Ross Beattie (Gwent Dragons), Graeme Beveridge (Glasgow Rugby)
Mike Blair (Edinburgh Rugby), Joel Brannigan (Edinburgh Rugby),
Bulloch (Glasgow Rugby), Stephen Cranston (The Borders), Chris
Cusiter (The
Borders), Simon Danielli (Bath Rugby), Marcus Di Rollo (Edinburgh
Bruce Douglas (The Borders), Iain Fullarton (Sale Sharks), Scott Gray
Rugby), Stuart Grimes (Newcastle Falcons)Andy Hall (Glasgow Rugby),
Hamilton (Newcastle Falcons), Andy Henderson (Glasgow Rugby), Ben
(Worcester), Allister Hogg (Edinburgh Rugby), Allan Jacobsen
Rugby), Alastair Kellock (Edinburgh Rugby), Robbie Kydd (Saracens),
Lamont (Glasgow Rugby), Donnie Macfadyen (Glasgow Rugby), Cameron
(Glasgow Rugby), Scott Macleod (The Borders), Graeme Morrison
(Glasgow Rugby),
Gareth Morton (The Borders), Euan Murray (Glasgow Rugby), Scott
(Edinburgh Rugby), Dan Parks (Glasgow Rugby), Chris Paterson
Rugby), Jon Petrie (Glasgow Rugby), Tom Philip (Edinburgh Rugby),
Gordon Ross
(Leeds Tykes), Rob Russell (Saracens), Steve Scott (The Borders), Tom
(Northampton Saints), Hugo Southwell (Edinburgh Rugby), Simon Webster
(Edinburgh Rugby), Jason White (Sale Sharks)

Tour Schedule:
Saturday 22 May: Scotland v Barbarians, Murrayfield, (final
warm-up game).
Saturday 29 May: Queensland v Scotland, Ballymore, Brisbane
(kick-off time
Wednesday 2 June: New South Wales Country v Scotland, Wollongong
Friday 4 June: Samoa v Scotland, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, NZ,
7.35pm local time.
Tuesday 8 June: NSW Waratahs v Scotland, Aussie Stadium, Sydney,
7.30pm local time.
Sunday 13 June: Australia v Scotland, Telstra Dome, Melbourne,
kick-off 4pm
local time.
Saturday 19 June: Australia v Scotland, Telstra Stadium, Sydney,

South Africa will take on Wales at
Millennium Stadium on November 6th in an extra fixture that has
delighted WRU
It will be the Springboks’ first Test against Wales in Cardiff
since their
23-13 victory in 2000 and means Wales will play four games in the
space of
three November weeks with Romania, New Zealand and Japan also to be

“I am really excited because the quality of opposition is
superb,” new
Wales coach Mike Ruddock said on Wednesday after the announcement of
the extra
“This extra fixture is a real bonus and will give all of us,
coaches and
players alike, the chance to assess ourselves against the best teams
in the

“We already have an incredibly challenging summer tour with
two Tests in
Argentina and one in South Africa. Now we have a wonderfully balanced
series to look forward to at the Millennium Stadium.”

The Welsh Rugby Union feel they have pulled off a major coup in
two of the southern hemisphere big guns to Cardiff this autumn.
“This will be the first time since 1996 that Wales will face
nations in the autumn international period,” said WRU chief
executive David

“Eight years ago we met Australia and South Africa in
December, but this
will be a first for Welsh fans at the Millennium Stadium.”

Ruddock, who opens his reign with a fixture against the Barbarians
Bristol on May 26th, has also confirmed the make-up of his backroom
Clive Griffiths has been appointed defence coach, joining skills
Scott Johnson and conditioning coach Andrew Hore.

“I’m really pleased with this team,” Ruddock said.
“It’s very strong and at
this level you need that. Gone are the days when one man can have all
answers. You need specialists in place.”

The former Swansea and Leinster coach has reaffirmed that Wales
want their
leading players to play their rugby at home, rather than follow the
lead of
Stephen Jones and Gareth Thomas, who will be playing for Montferrand
Toulouse respectively next season.
“My principle is that we want to keep all our best players
within the Welsh
regions if possible,” added Ruddock.

“We want to be as as strong as we can so we have more chance
of winning the
European Cup with a Welsh region.
“And we want the fans to see our best players playing in
Wales and we want
those guys to help us achieve greater attendances and better
sponsorship. So
it is a blow when we lose players.”

In Sydney yesterday (Thurs), Wallabies coach Eddie Jones slammed a new
IRB ruling that could see ACT Brumbies star Radike Samo playing for
Pacific Islands against the Wallabies without forfeiting his chance
represent Australia.

Jones said the International Rugby Board ruling turned rugby into
a “Mickey
Mouse game”.

The governing body on Thursday ruled that playing for the new
Islanders team will not capture a player’s eligibility under the
one-country-for-life rule.
Fijian-born second rower Samo had previously ruled out playing for
Pacific Islands because he wanted to play for the Wallabies.
But he can now play for the Islanders on this year’s tour, including
the July
3 Test against the Wallabies in Adelaide, and still remain eligible
to play
for Australia.

Jones said that scenario highlighted the absurdity of the IRB
“It makes it a Mickey Mouse game,” Jones said on

“He could be playing against the Wallabies on July 3rd and then
playing for
them against the All Blacks in the Bledisloe Cup on July 17th.

“Tell me how that’s good for the sport. I think it’s

Jones said playing someone who did not actually want to play for
one of the
countries which make up the team – Fiji, Tonga and Samoa – would not
help the
sport in those countries and would make it little better than a trial
“Why would the Islands play a kid who won’t play for
Tonga,” he said.

Samo has played his way into genuine Wallaby squad contention with
outstanding season in the second-row for the Brumbies despite the
challenge of
Test lock David Giffin.

AFP – 2004.