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Rugby Union: No-one's scared of Melrose these days.

FIRED-UP MELROSE chief Gel Tait will issue an all-or- nothing message to his men before today's Tennent's Premiership table-topper with HERIOT'S at the Greenyards.

Coach Tait insists anything other than a win for his side would scrub out their hopes of stealing the title from the pacesetters.

He said: "We have to treat this one like a cup tie, knowing that if we lose we are out of it completely.

"I will also make it clear to the guys that the fact they have already beaten Heriot's this season will count for absolutely nothing."

Tait stressed: "Gone are the days when our big names effectively gave us a 10-point start just by being on the pitch.

"Teams don't fear us the same as they used to and every member of the side will have to be firing at full throttle."

New scrum-half Robbie Chrystie will again be a key man for Melrose.

Tait has been delighted with his impact since switching from Hawick, and said: "Not only does the lad have the skills, he also has a superb attitude.

"He was certainly too good to be playing second-team rugby at Mansfield Park."

Meanwhile, disillusioned Mark Moncrieff has returned to Melrose after just two weeks with French Premiership side Perigaux.

The Scotland World Cup Sevens star quit the Dordogne club after they failed to provide him with decent accommodation and a car.

Now Moncrieff plans to re-register at the Greenyards as soon as possible.

He explained yesterday: "The rugby was tremendous - but I was not willing to live in a hovel.

"The apartment they laid on for me was certainly not what I expected.

"I gave them a chance to come up with something more acceptable, but when they didn't deliver I had no option but to come home.

"I am the wrong side of 30 and I have done a fair bit of travelling rough in my days - but now I am not up for living out of my bag and sleeping on a couch."

Moncrieff stressed: "The people at the club were very nice and I was getting on fine with the other players.

"But what was the good in me knocking my pan in at training, only to find I couldn't get a decent night's sleep?

"I am in the twilight of my career now. I have been lucky enough to play in such places as New Zealand and Australia and had been looking forward to the fresh challenge in France.

"But there was no way I was going to put up with this sort of hassle.

"There was a big Kiwi forward who joined the club at the same time as me and his accommodation was even worse - when he arrived it didn't even have electricity."

Moncrieff made his debut for Perigaux when he came off the bench for the final 15 minutes of the clash with La Rochelle, then played at centre for the whole of last weekend's encounter with Biarritz.

Melrose spokesman Stuart Henderson said: "We are sorry things haven't worked out for Mark. We will be delighted to have him back available for us as soon as all the paperwork is sorted out."

Elsewhere, GLASGOW HAWKS are likely to get back on the victory trail against basement boys STIRLING COUNTY at New Anniesland, while fourth-placed CURRIE are at home to the fast-improving WEST OF SCOTLAND.

BOROUGHMUIR, fresh from two league wins on the trot, could complete the hat- trick at Riverside Park against JED-FOREST.

Tottering champions WATSONIANS face HAWICK at Myreside, realising that another defeat could plunge them into the danger zone.

Division 2 pacesetters GALA take on DUNDEE HSFP at Mayfield.
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 16, 1999
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