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Shingler hailed after 'distraction'

Steve Shingler has been "badly affected" by the row over his eligibility for Scotland's RBS 6 Nations Championships squad according to his London Irish club coach Toby Booth.

The Swansea-born 20-year-old centre, who played for Wales Under-20s last year but has a Scottish mother, played well for Irish in their 21-19 Aviva Premiership win over Sale Sharks in Reading and that was "credit to him", said Booth, after a week where his international future was called into question.

Booth explained why the club were shielding Shingler from explaining the situation, saying: "When it all broke and there were some questions over it, it affected him quite badly."

The International Rugby Board have been contacted about the situation by both the Scottish and Welsh Rugby Unions.

Wales claim his appearance for the Under-20s makes it impossible for Scotland to select him, while the Scots say Shingler has "declined to sign a document declaring himself to Wales".

All this happened while Shingler was preparing with Irish for this weekend's game, where he was due to be on the bench but eventually started when England ace Shontayne Hape suffered a late injury.

Booth added: "As far as we are aware - and there is some stuff around from his agent - Steve Shingler is qualified for Scotland and will be taking up that unless he is advised or informed by the IRB not to do so.

"It is a massive distraction along with, by his own admittance, an ordinary performance (against Bath) the week before.

"So he was back in his more familiar position today and played well. But I'm sure people will understand the situation we are in.

"His agent and him are taking legal advice about the whole situation and I've just told Steve to concentrate on what he does week in and week out."

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