Leslie may sit out Ireland clash
February 17, 2000
Scotland coach Ian McGeechan has dropped the broadest hint yet that skipper John Leslie will not be involved against Ireland on Saturday - even if he is probably fit.
Leslie trained on his own at Murrayfield on Wednesday as he continues his bid to recover from the hip injury he sustained during the dismal defeat in Italy a fortnight ago. However, with just 14 minutes of competitive action behind him since October, selecting Leslie would represent a huge gamble, even given the player's undoubted prowess.
The arrival of Edinburgh Reivers skipper Graham Shiel at a television interview session was a further clue to McGeechan's plans and the Scotland coach admitted his team are better prepared to cope with their captain's absence than they were when they travelled to Rome.
"We have trained differently and planned for it this week,'' said McGeechan, who must choose between Shiel and James McLaren should Leslie not make the team. "At one stage we were thinking of getting some competitive rugby into John by playing him in the A team game on Friday night. But the medics weren't too keen on that idea. They believe if he is fit to play in an A game, he is fit to play a full international.
"I have waited for them to say John won't make it but they have not said that. In their opinion, John is fit, so we will make our selection on that basis."