Leslie comes through training unscathed
February 2, 2000
Scotland's hopes of a successful start to their Lloyds TSB Six Nations campaign in Italy on Saturday were boosted last night when new skipper John Leslie returned to training without any problems.
Leslie, who has not had any contact work since rupturing ligaments in his ankle against South Africa in October, has three days to prove his fitness.
A spokesman for the Scottish Rugby Union confirmed: "John Leslie took a full part in training, including live tackling. He did everything that was asked of him with no ill-effects."
Leslie's team-mate, Kenny Logan, also hopes to put injury worries to the back of his mind ahead of Saturday's game in Rome.
The Scotland winger was supposed to be accompanying new coach Ian McGeechan to the launch of the Six Nations Championship in London last Thursday.
But instead of enjoying the corporate festivities, Logan was on the Wasps training ground, up to his ankles in mud trying to sort his goalkicking out.
It proved to be the right move as the capital club moved into the last eight of the Tetley's Bitter Cup with a narrow victory over Newcastle at Loftus Road.
"I have been struggling with a couple of injuries in my back and I wanted to get myself back again," said Logan.
There have been a couple of bad spells with my goalkicking but hopefully I will be fine on Saturday."
The former Stirling County flyer is looking to put the boot into Italy on their debut in Europe's showpiece competition.
"I didn't play well against Newcastle the week before and felt I wanted to stay and try and get things right.
"My performances at club level are very important to me.
"They are the ones who pay my salary and if I do not pull it off for them then I am not going to get picked for Scotland anyway."
With Cammie Murray injured, Logan is a certain starter in Rome's Stadio Flaminio. He has enjoyed himself against Italy in the past, bagging 20 points in the 30-12 friendly victory at Murrayfield a year ago.
However, Saturday's tussle represents another chance to score for Scotland in a Championship fixture.
Even though he has crossed the whitewash 10 times for his country, the 27-year-old has yet to make his debut score in what used to be the Five Nations.
"As long as we win, I'm not bothered who scores," he said. "Obviously, it would be nice but it is not the main thing.
"Roger Baird played 40-odd times for Scotland and was brilliant most of the time, yet he never scored at all.
"As long as I keep kicking the goals, the rest of the team can score the tries."
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter