From Misfit to a Potential Marvel; Williams Pinning Scotland Hopes on Comeback Ace Lee
Byline: NIALL AITCHESON
NIALL AITCHESON on Murrayfield moment of truth
DERRICK LEE, once regarded by Jim Telfer as the enfant terrible of Scottish rugby, returns to the Scotland starting line-up against France at Murrayfield tomorrow, neither angry nor bitter over his treatment at the hands of the selectors.
As exclusively revealed by Sportsmail yesterday, the 30-yearold Edinburgh strike- runner is restored to the fullback berth for the first time since November 2001.
Lee replaces the out-of-sorts Ben Hinshelwood in the last line of defence as one of three changes made to the side that lost to Italy.
Andy Henderson, who began the Six Nations campaign with an ill-fated appearance on the left wing in Cardiff, is brought back at inside- centre for the struggling Brendan Laney, while skipper Chris Paterson retains the fly-half jersey.
Elsewhere, Cameron Mather has passed a fitness test on his injured ankle to reclaim the openside berth from youngster Ally Hogg.
Hogg and Laney are listed among the substitutes, with Jon Petrie and Hinshelwood the men to give way.
The most significant alteration, however, concerns the rehabilitation of Lee from discarded misfit to potential Test game-breaker. Coach Matt Williams sees the stocky former Watsonian and London Scottish pro as the man to spark an under-performing backline.
'What we wanted was a bit more thrust into the backline from fullback. I thought we weren't getting the pace and angles from the back three that we required,' Williams explained.
'We considered moving Chris Paterson back to fullback for those reasons. We resisted that and have brought in Derrick Lee, whose performances for Edinburgh have shown great improvement, and he has earned his selection on merit.'
Lee's appearance before the massed ranks of the media at yesterday's team announcement was in stark contrast to the secrecy and dressing-room politics that accompanied his last run-on selection.
Then, having spent three years on the outside looking in, he was suddenly smuggled back in for the Argentina match as a replacement for the injured Glenn Metcalfe, the management having backtracked on initial plans to introduce Laney within days of his arrival from New Zealand.
Indeed, the SRU did such a good cover-up job that not one media outlet discovered the deception in advance. Lee went on to have a veritable blinder, but was then sent straight back into purgatory as his face didn't fit.
'I've no complaints at all about what has happened in the past.
Glenn Metcalfe and Chris Paterson were great players for Scotland at fullback and I'm just lucky to be playing this Sunday,' said Lee.
'At least I've had more notice this time than I got for my previous Test start. …