New Scotland head coaches Chris Chester and John Duffy have announced their first train-on squad for the forthcoming European Championship, which doubles as a qualifier for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England.
There is a new, cosmopolitan look to the selection with players from leagues in Scotland, England, France, Australia, New Zealand and Canada included, after a disappointing end to the 2017 World Cup which saw the Bravehearts miss out on the quarter finals.
“We are very excited about the 2018 European Championship, it’s an important tournament in its own right,” said SRL chairman Keith Hogg.
“Qualifying for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup is really important for Scotland Rugby League. It is important that our players have the chance to perform for their country at the highest level, and vital that we are able to show young Scottish players exactly what they can aspire to if they continue to develop as a rugby league player.
Hogg added: “Pulling on the Scotland jersey is a very big moment for all and there is nowhere better to do that than at a World Cup. We also believe that Scotland brings something to a World Cup whether that be on the pitch or off it.”
Importantly, the squad also includes the greatest number of players from domestic competition, with four clubs represented, the Scots playing their home fixture with Wales at Galashiels.
Newcomers include props Logan Bayliss-Brow from North Queensland Cowboys and Tweed Heads’ Jordan Aiono Fatu.
There is also experience with Stirling-born David Scott looking for his 13th cap and third World Cup. “I’m looking forward to the upcoming European Championships,” he said. “It is always an honour to represent Scotland and I can’t wait to join up with the lads next week.”
He is joined by London full back Alex Walker, star of the Million Pound Game in Toronto as the Broncos’ clinched promotion.
“Representing Scotland is always very special and I’m looking forward to the chance to qualify for the next World Cup,” he noted.
The top two nations from the European Championship will be granted automatic World Cup passage, the bottom two playing in a further qualification group in 2019 which will include Italy, either Norway or Greece and the top two nations in European B, which will be decided this weekend.
SCOTLAND 35-MAN TRAIN-ON SQUAD
David Scott (Batley Bulldogs), Luke Westman (Berkley RLFC), Niall Hall (Bon Accord Bulls), Lewis Tierney (Catalan Dragons), Frankie Mariano (Doncaster Rovers), Craig Borthwick, Lewis Clarke, Matt Hogg, Finn Hutchison, Terry Logan, Craig Robertson (Edinburgh Eagles), Sam Brooks (Featherstone Rovers), Scott Plumridge (Glasgow RL), Ben Kavanagh, Will Oakes (Hull KR), Billy McConnachie (Ipswich Jets), Davey Dixon, Kieran Moran (Keighley Cougars), Nick Glohe (Lakes United RLFC), Ben Hellewell, Alex Walker (London Broncos), James Bell (New Zealand Warriors), Niall Sidney (Newcastle Thunder), Lachlan Stein (Newtown Jets), Logan Bayliss-Brow (North Queensland Cowboys), Oscar Thomas (Sheffield Eagles), Murray Mitchell, Ali Olivier (Strathmore Silverbacks), Josh Barlow (Swinton Lions), Ryan Brierley, Matthew Russell (Toronto Wolfpack), Kane Bentley (Toulouse), Jordan Aiono Fatu (Tweedhead Seagulls), Archie Andrade (Wakefield Trinity), Oliver Wilkes (Workington Town)
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP 2018 FIXTURES
Round 1 –
Saturday 27 October
Ireland v Scotland – Morton Stadium, Santry (kick off 2pm)
France v Wales – Stade Albert Domec, Carcassone (kick off 6pm)
Round 2 –
Friday 2 November
Scotland v Wales – Gala RFC, Galashiels, (kick off 7.30pm)
Saturday 3 November
Ireland v France – Morton Stadium, Santry (kick off 2pm)
ROUND 3 –
Saturday 10 November
France v Scotland – Stade Albert Domec, Carcassone (kick off 6pm)
Sunday 11 November
Wales v Ireland – Racecourse Ground, Wrexham (kick off 3pm)