Leslie comes through Newcastle debut
February 27, 2000

Scotland will be breathing a sigh of relief after captain John Leslie successfully negotiated his debut for Newcastle Falcons today.
Watched by Scotland assistant coach John Rutherford, the kilted Kiwi looked way below his best but did enough to suggest his partnership with England starlet Jonny Wilkinson will be a fruitful one although the Falcons were hanging in desperately at the end against basement club Bedford.
But of more immediate importance for Scotland is that Leslie came through his first full game since last October and will play against France in next Saturday's Lloyds TSB Six Nations Championship game at Murrayfield.
"I'm happy enough to have got through the 80 minutes although it was not a great game," said Leslie. "It was a very frustrating match and it's nice to have made a winning debut, but that's about all you could say about the game. The boys are very disappointed and not too many of us are happy with the way we played."
Leslie's partnership with Wilkinson paid immediate dividends with Wilkinson scoring both his tries in an opening 14-minute period as a result of Leslie's craft in midfield.
Leslie said: "It's early days and we've just come together and we'll develop - but it's always good to play alongside players of Jonny Wilkinson's quality and he showed today what a fine young player he is."

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