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PRAISE HIM!; Let's copy All Blacks.

Scotland rugby manager Jim Telfer said last night that bad boy Damien Cronin should have been praised for kicking a team-mate in the face.

Telfer is furious at coverage of the training bust-up which saw Cronin attack youngster Graham Ellis and also brawl with two other stars.

And he threatened to ban Scottish journalists unless they "supported" his team.

Telfer said: "What happened yesterday would probably have been praised in the New Zealand press.

"I've seen players, particularly All Blacks, break each other's noses at practice. Colin Meads did it once to keep the other guy out of the team.

"Meads also received a hero's welcome when he came home after being sent off at Murrayfield in 1967.

"This incident just showed how keen the Scots were to get on with it. It was a reaction to a player holding on to the ball too long after a tackle.

"When I have been on tours before, I have seen players crucified.

"I always expect my own country's press to be supportive of the team. We have got enough enemies here as it is." The media were locked out of yesterday's training, but Telfer said:

"We didn't decide to have a private session because of what happened yesterday. It was planned before that.

"We will probably have more private sessions on the tour but I wouldn't like us to end up with all private sessions.

"It depends on what is going to be written. I would ask you for your support of us."

Telfer claimed posh Scots schools are holding the game back.

"Just now we are in a country that lives and breathes rugby," he said.

"The standard in the All Blacks trial and the Super 12 final was awesome.

"We will go back home to the usual Borders v City, and Clubs v Districts issues, to the little cliques and parochialism.

"Every New Zealand province has signed a statement of intent to work together to produce an All Blacks side to win the World Cup

"Some Scottish clubs can't even agree on what day to play each other."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Walters, Mike
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 5, 1996
Words:349
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