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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 September, 2003, 10:33 GMT 11:33 UK
Scots drop Laney
Brendan Laney
Brendan Laney's recent performances have been criticised
Edinburgh centre Brendan Laney has become the big-name casualty from Scotland's disappointing warm-up displays and has been dropped from the squad for the Rugby World Cup.

But 21-year-old Borders wing Nikki Walker has been drafted in despite missing the recent Tests.

Rory Kerr, Simon Webster, Andrew Dall, Iain Fullerton, Allan Jacobsen and Matt Proudfoot are the other players who were involved in the warm-ups but who have not made the final 30-strong squad.

There had been speculation that Edinburgh forward Martin Leslie's injury problems and Borders stand-off Gregor Townsend's unconvincing recent displays would count against them, but both will make the trip.

In the end, Laney was the one to suffer and Scotland coach Ian McGeechan explained: "We were looking at four players for three positions and at the strengths we wanted out of the midfield.

It's a call I hate making
Scotland coach Ian McGeechan
"At this moment in time, it best suits what we want to do and we have gone for more directness.

"Our game will work best with some direct runners so that we can work with the back-row and forwards in the way we want to play.

Laney has been a controversial figure since McGeechan decided to cap the New Zealander against the All Blacks two years ago and his recent sluggish performances, both at full-back and inside centre, have prompted criticism.

"Brendan has had a very successful time in the last two years," said McGeechan.

"We knew he struggled a bit in the Six Nations, but you have got to give credit to other players who have come through in that area and have produced good games."

Walker had himself been dropped to the Under-21s ahead of the Six Nations but McGeechan said: "We have been keeping an eye on him and put him in the Under-21s to monitor his progress and develop him.

"He had a good Under-21 World Cup. We had Rory Kerr and Simon Webster in to see how they were going, but ultimately we were looking at one player from three.

"He is a good strike runner and it is very important we have that sort of player wider out."

Nikki Walker (left) has impressed with Borders
Nikki Walker (left) has impressed with Scotland's Under-21s
McGeechan admitted that the phone calls he had to make to players who had missed out on selection were among the toughest in his coaching career.

"You know how much it means to them and what they are missing out on and it's a call I hate making," he said.

McGeechan added that Edinburgh prop Jacobsen was the "unluckiest" player to miss out.

"Chunk will be on very short stand-by for any injuries, but the new regulations covering the front-row mean that we have to take players who can play both sides of the front-row," added the coach.

The Scotland squad contains 18 players who will be making their first appearance at a World Cup.

Two of the squad will be appearing at their third finals, Kenny Logan and captain Bryan Redpath both having featured in the 1995 and 1999 tournaments.


Scotland squad:

Backs:
Graeme Beveridge (Glasgow), Mike Blair (Edinburgh), Andy Craig (Orrell) Simon Danielli (Bath), Andrew Henderson (Glasgow) ,Ben Hinshelwood (Worcester), Kenny Logan (London Wasps), James McLaren (Aviron Bayonnais), Glenn Metcalfe (Glasgow), Chris Paterson (Edinburgh), Bryan Redpath (Sale Sharks) captain, Gordon Ross (Leeds Tykes), Gregor Townsend (The Borders), Nikki Walker (The Borders)

Forwards:
Ross Beattie (Gwent Dragons), Gordon Bulloch (Glasgow), Bruce Douglas (The Borders), Stuart Grimes (Newcastle Falcons), Dougie Hall (Edinburgh), Nathan Hines (Edinburgh), Gavin Kerr (Leeds Tykes), Martin Leslie (Edinburgh), Gordon McIlwham (unattached), Andrew Mower (Newcastle Falcons), Scott Murray (Edinburgh), Jon Petrie (Glasgow), Rob Russell (Saracens), Tom Smith (Northampton Saints) ,Simon Taylor (Edinburgh) ,Jason White (Sale Sharks)





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Scotland coach Ian McGeechan
"I know it's a huge disappointment for him"



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