Rugby: Rory Lawson to captain Scotland

Rory Lawson will captain Scotland for the first time in Saturday's Test against South Africa after Mike Blair was ruled out with concussion.

Blair suffered a blow to the head in the first half of Scotland's 49-3 defeat to New Zealand last Saturday and has been ruled out of the Murrayfield meeting with the world champions, with Gloucester ace Lawson taking his place as scrum-half and skipper.

Lawson missed the All Blacks clash with a hand injury but returns as one of four changes, with one positional switch, from the starting XV which lost to the Kiwis.

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Nikki Walker comes in on the wing in place of Rory Lamont for his first start in two years, while Scott MacLeod has been selected at second row in place of Jim Hamilton.

Nathan Hines will play at blindside flanker, with Kelly Brown switching to No.8 and Richie Vernon dropping to the bench.

Presumably her ire is channelled at the Parliament because it failed to introduce the minimum price for alcohol she has long advocated and done nothing to control the sale of cheap alcohol in supermarkets, which is helping to destroy the pub trade.

However, she is not wrong in her disdain for all things Scottish Parliament, it having developed into little more than a mechanism for control-freak government which seems intent on interfering in our lives while avoiding the real issues like reforming our local government to make it more accountable, more efficient and cost effective.

But perhaps if we were to become independent and create the essential second revising chamber to ensure only quality legislation is visited upon us, we may just mature as a nation, take an interest in politics again and demand better.

Looking around me and seeing where Scotland is currently at, the only question has to be, is the status quo really an option?

Jim Taylor, The Murrays Brae, Edinburgh

Crime can pay for struggling sports

Having read on the front page of Monday's News that half of Edinburgh's sports clubs may fold due to rising costs (Pitch Battle, November 15), I turned to page two only to read that cash confiscated from criminals is helping hockey teams.

Perhaps the other sports organisations could apply for some of the filthy lucre.

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The only down side is that this source of funding does rather depend on the industry of our criminals and the detection skills of our police force.

Harry D. Watson, Braehead Grove, Edinburgh