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John Hardie

John Hardie in World Cup action for Scotland

He doesn’t know what possessed him to visit the old Lockhart Hotel that day, but it was an experience John Hardie is never likely to forget.

“The most scared I’ve ever been,” says Scotland’s openside flanker.

The setting is a building in Queenstown on New Zealand’s South Island – a holiday resort about an hour and a half from Dipton, the farming country where Hardie was born and reared.

Legend has it that there was a fire in Lockhart’s place in the late 1800’s. Three generations of the family perished.

Only a girl called Mary survived – and she haunts the place to this day. Many Kiwis have gone there over the years and many talk of the sense of foreboding that exists behind that main door.

Hardie’s now one of them. Chilled to the bone, he says. “Never going back. Never ever.”

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1872 CupEdinburgh hold a 12-point lead on aggregate going into the second leg of the 1872 Cup, after an excellent 23 / 11 home win over rival Glasgow Warriors, in front of a record crowd of 23 642 at BT Murrayfield.

The win not only gives Edinburgh the advantage going into next week’s second-leg encounter at Scotstoun, but also sees them leapfrog the Warriors in the Guinness PRO12 table.

2 Tries from centre Matt Scott and back-row John Hardie, were bolstered by the sterling boot of Sam Hidalgo-Clyne who notched up 16 points from the tee to contribute to Edinburgh’s 26-points tally.

Despite opening the scoring through a Mark Bennett try, Edinburgh snatched Glasgow’s lead in the 12th minute with Hidalgo-Clyne’s conversion to Scott’s try, and retained it for the remaining 68 minutes of the game.

There was one late change to the sides prior to proceedings as Glasgow captain and lock Jonny Gray pulled out through injury. Centre Peter Horne took on skippering duties, with Tim Swinson gaining promotion from the bench and USA Eagles internationalist Greg Peterson being named as a substitute.

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Edinburgh RugbyEdinburgh Rugby’s players are in open revolt against their managing director, David Davies, after he sacked the long-serving team manager. Lynsey Dingwall was a popular and efficient member of the backroom staff at Edinburgh Rugby yet she was given an hour to clear her desk after working at the club for 14 years.

The players sent an email to the board and the council of the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) which Scotland on Sunday has seen. In the missive, sent on 23 March, the players offer their full support to Dingwall.

“We feel the dismissal of Lynsey Dingwall was unfair and unjustified,” the e-mail reads. “Lynsey was part of Edinburgh Rugby for 14 years. Over that period she worked tirelessly with and for the players and was hugely respected within the organisation. Numerous past coaches and players have commented that she was the best team manager that they have ever worked with. We feel she has been the victim of a personal attack.”

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ScotlandHead Coach Vern Cotter has made 2 enforced changes to the starting Scotland side to face Wales at BT Murrayfield Stadium this Sunday (kick-off 15:00 BST & GMT, 17:00 SA Time).

Glasgow Warriors wing Sean Lamont – the most capped player in Scotland’s RBS 6 Nations squad with 91 appearances – has made a timely return from the calf injury that ruled him out of the nation’s opening championship match against France, as a direct replacement for club-mate Tommy Seymour, who has not yet recovered fully from the hip injury sustained in Paris.

The 2nd change sees London Irish tight-head prop Geoff Cross promoted from the bench in place of Euan Murray, who is unavailable on the Sabbath due to his religious beliefs, with Jon Welsh taking the substitute spot vacated by Cross.

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Greig Laidlaw

Greig Laidlaw replaces injured Grant Gilchrist as Scotland captain

Experienced Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw will lead his country into this Saturday’s viagogo Autumn Test match against Argentina at BT Murrayfield (kick-off 5.30pm) it was announced today

The 31-times capped Borderer takes on the mantle from 24-year-old lock Grant Gilchrist, who was ruled out of the series after fracturing his forearm in Edinburgh Rugby’s European Challenge Cup win over Lyon, just four days after being accorded the honour.

Laidlaw, who skippered Edinburgh Rugby for the three seasons before departing for Gloucester in the summer, has led Scotland on seven occasions to date, two of which were in Vern Cotter’s first Tests as head coach in the recent summer tour – wins over USA and Canada.

Vern Cotter said: “Obviously we’re disappointed for Grant, who misses the opportunity to captain his country at home on this occasion, however congratulations must now go to Greig who takes on that responsibility for this Saturday’s game.  Greig offers us a bit of continuity, having captained the side on the summer tour. He’s been playing well for Gloucester and I think he deserves this selection.”

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btmurrayfieldScottish Rugby is delighted to announce today that it has secured a long-term, multi-million pounds deal with global communications and broadcasting giant BT.

The four-year partnership, unveiled at the home of Scottish Rugby this afternoon, sees BT

  • Secure the naming rights for Murrayfield Stadium, which becomes BT Murrayfield Stadium.
  • Become sponsor of the Scotland 7s side from the outset of the 2014-15 HSBC Sevens World Series.
  • Become principal and exclusive sponsor of Scotland’s domestic league and cup competitions from next season.
  • Become sponsor of Scottish Rugby’s four new academies which will drive forward standards for young players who have aspirations to play professionally.

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ScotlandFranceScotland were boosted by the availability of stalwart tight head prop Euan Murray for this Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations encounter against France at Murrayfield.

Murray has yet to feature in the tournament this year due to an injured thumb.

Meanwhile, France hooker Dimitri Szarzewski has become the latest in a long list of French players who will be unable to play in the match. He misses out due to an ankle injury.

This means that France will fielding their third choice hooker on Saturday.

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Edinburgh RugbyEdinburgh Rugby’s next home match against Ospreys on Friday 28 February (kick-off 7.35pm) will be played at Meggetland, the club confirmed on Wednesday

Concerns over the current Murrayfield Stadium playing surface – caused by a parasitic infection that damaged the roots – mean the club will relocate the RaboDirect PRO12 clash to ensure the international pitch is in robust health for Scotland’s home fixtures in the 2014 RBS 6 Nations, against England and France.

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ScotlandScotland have made three changes to their starting XV and three more changes to their bench for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations Championship match against England at Murrayfield.

There’s a new cap at openside flanker where Chris Fusaro, the 24-year-old Glasgow Warrior, a product of Bell Baxter High School and  the Howe of Fife club, who has graduated from Scotland 7’s and Scotland A, replaces Kelly Brown.  Fusaro will be Scotland’s 1052nd cap.

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Scotland1Kelly Brown will captain Scotland against Japan at Murrayfield on Saturday in the first viagogo Autumn Test. Back-row forward Brown, 31, returns after recovering from the leg injury which cut short his involvement in Scotland’s summer tour to South Africa. It will be his tenth Test as Scotland captain and 59th cap overall.

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ScotlandKieran LowKieran Low is not one to beat about the bush. The 22-year-old was born in the south of England and grew up in Chichester with a Welsh-born father and mother who hails from Scunthorpe, but if he is handed an opportunity to stride out on to Murrayfield this autumn, one that he never grew up dreaming of, it will be the highlight of his life so far.

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Edinburgh_Rugby_logoWingers Tim Visser and Nikki Walker will bookend the back division when Edinburgh Rugby face Dragons at Murrayfield Stadium tonight,  Friday 13 September, kick-off 8.45pm South African Time.

The outing will double as Walker’s debut for the club since signing in the summer; with the club hoping the pair, currently second and fourth in the league’s all-time top try-scoring chart, will add firepower to the side.

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ScotlandFormer Scotland scrum-half and captain Rory Lawson is to retire from all rugby with immediate effect.  Lawson (Newcastle Falcons), the 32-year-old son of former Scotland scrum-half and immediate SRU past president Alan Lawson, has been advised to retire on account of a chronic wrist injury.

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