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Vote of confidence for Rome losers
Edinburgh
February 9, 2000

Scotland coach Ian McGeechan kept faith with the players who lost to Italy when he named a squad of 24 on Wednesday for the Six Nations match against Ireland in Dublin on February 19.

"There are good players in this squad but they are all desperately disappointed," said McGeechan, who will trim the squad to 22 next week.

"They let everyone down. Now they have the opportunity to put it right."

The increase in the squad - one more than went to Italy - is due to uncertainties over injuries to John Leslie and David Hilton. McGeechan indicated that Leslie is likely to play for his new club Newcastle this weekend in what would be a critical test for the Scotland captain.

"For him the injury on Saturday could not have come at a worse time in the game," said the coach.

"He needed time to settle in. Now the concern is that we are two weeks back from where we hoped to be with him."

Graham Shiel has been brought into the squad as extra cover for Leslie with Alan Bulloch dropping out, the expectation being that the latter will be given a run in the Scotland A team.

In the forwards George Graham returns to the squad as fitness worries over David Hilton continue to cause concern for the Scotland management.

Squad:

Backs: Duncan Hodge (Edinburgh Reivers), John Leslie (Newcastle Falcons) (captain), Kenny Logan (London Wasps), Shaun Longstaff (Glasgow Caledonians), James McLaren (Bourgoin-Jallieu), Jamie Mayer (Bristol), Glenn Metcalfe (Glasgow Caledonians), Andy Nicol (Glasgow Caledonians), Bryan Redpath (Narbonne), Graham Shiel (Edinburgh Reivers), Gregor Townsend (Brive).

Forwards: Gordon Bulloch (Glasgow Caledonians), George Graham (Newcastle Falcons), Stuart Grimes (Newcastle Falcons), David Hilton (Glasgow Caledonians), Martin Leslie (Edinburgh Reivers), Scott Murray (Saracens), Budge Pountney (Northampton), Stuart Reid (Narbonne), Rob Russell (Saracens), Gordon Simpson (Glasgow Caledonians), Tom Smith (Brive), Mattie Stewart (Northampton), Doddie Weir (Newcaslte Falcons).

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