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The BBC's Iain Robertson
"Hopefully an amnesty will be announced"
 real 28k

Monday, 27 March, 2000, 20:35 GMT 21:35 UK
Hilton ruled ineligible by IRB
David Hilton
Hilton: His international career may now be over
The International Rugby Board has ruled Scotland prop David Hilton ineligible for the Six Nations match against England on Sunday.

Six Nations Championship
The decision was taken after the Scottish Rugby Union informed the IRB last week that Hilton's grandfather was born in Bristol, not Edinburgh.

The Scottish Rugby Union could be now punished for fielding him, with the suggestion made that some match results may be overturned.

IRB chief executive Stephen Baines said: "The question of possible sanctions against Scotland for selecting Hilton when he was ineligible will be considered by an IRB judicial committee on a date to be confirmed."

Hilton factfile
1970: Born in Bristol
1992: Signed for Bath from Bristol
1994: Scotland A debut vs SA
1995: Scotland debut vs Canada
1999: Appeared in every game as Scots win Five Nations
2000: Ruled ineligible by IRB
It means that the player, who has won 41 caps, may never represent Scotland again, because he has no Scottish ancestry.

The only way the 29-year-old can regain his place is if he completes a mininum three years residency.

Hilton had already been omitted from the squad to face England in the Calcutta Cup match this weekend, although coach Ian McGeechan left a place open for him in case the ruling went in his favour.

The SRU had argued that Hilton should not be barred because he had earned his first cap before rugby union went professional in August 1995, which Scottish bosses hoped would be taken as the "cut off date".

But the IRB has clearly chosen to reject their case, suggesting that the notion of a cut off point has been thrown out.

Gordon McIlwham has been called up in Hilton's place. He has two caps for Scotland and is likely to start on the bench.

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See also:

23 Mar 00 | Rugby Union
A thorn in rugby's side
23 Mar 00 | Rugby Union
Celts face player punishment
22 Mar 00 | Rugby Union
Eligibility row hits Scotland
15 Mar 00 | Rugby Union
Scots to defend 'grandparent rule'
14 Mar 00 | Rugby Union
Aussie call for nationality crackdown
21 Mar 00 | Rugby Union
Sinkinson: I'm not eligible for Wales
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