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HELL RINGERS; Hong Kong bogus boys cheat Scots.

Scotland chiefs were left fuming last night after they were cheated of Sevens glory in Hong Kong by a bunch of ringers.

Dougie Morgan's men were hot favourites to land the consolation Plate trophy - until they clashed with the so- called hosts in the semis.

Hong Kong legitimately drafted in three Sevens experts from the South Sea Islands to their 10-man squad from a pool of spare "neutral" players - allegedly as cover for injuries.

But instead of sticking to the spirit of the rules and keeping them on the bench for emergency cover, they threw them straight into their starting line-up.

And their class shone through as the Scots were buried by an avalanche of tries - with five of them coming from the bogus men.

After the 43-7 drubbing, Scotland coach Andrew Ker blasted: "People at home will be wondering how the hell we've got beaten by Hong Kong - well it's obvious, isn't it?

"They had guys from all over the place playing for them who were clearly better than their own people.

"I think you should use seven guys who started the tournament if possible - and you should only have to play pool guys in an emergency and if all your own guys are used up."

Ker's annoyance was echoed by manager Morgan, who said: "It's strange they used their pool players when they had men of their own available on the bench.

"Then again, the tournament rules state that teams could only draw from pool players - yet Ireland had Mark Wyatt of Wales playing for them."

Despite the last-day anti-climax, Ker insisted that Scotland's campaign had to be rated a success.

He said: "The guys have found it very very hard indeed. We came here with a target of reaching the top eight - when we didn't manage that, our aim was to win the Plate and make the number nine slot.

"We've ended up at about number 12 and that's better than four years ago."

Skipper Graeme Burns admitted: "We let ourselves down - we should have made it harder for them. But it was hard to be fresh on the third day after playing Australia twice."

Star stand-ins Luke Nabaro from Fiji and Aussie Chris Gordon each scored twice for Hong Kong, with the other tries coming from Riaz Fredricks (Western Samoa), skipper Stuart Krohn and Isi Tu'ivai.

Derrick Lee went over for Scotland's touchdown - but by then they were well out of it. Earlier the Scots swept aside Romania 43-19.

In the Sevens final for the World Melrose Cup fabulous Fiji produced a brilliant fightback to edge out South Africa 24-21.

A major shock was in store as the Springboks surged ahead with tries by Andre Venter and Bobby Skinstad - both converted by Stephen Brink.

But the Fijians replied with a quick burst of four touchdowns through Marika Vunibaka, Luke Erenavula and Lemeki Koroi (two).

Brink gave the Boks a glimmer of hope with a slick effort but the men from the South Seas held their nerve.

In the Plate final Tonga thrashed Hong Kong 40-19 while USA beat Japan to land the World Bowl.

Scotland winger Kenny Logan produced a personal best and a new English record as he scored five tries in Wasps' 62-5 romp against Orrell.

Gala stand-off Chris Paterson totalled 21 points from six conversions and three penalties as Scotland opened their Junior World Cup challenge in Argentina by pounding Portugal 56-3 in Buenos Aires.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Duncan, Roddy
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 24, 1997
Words:572
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