Scots call up seven uncapped players for Rugby League World Cup
|Rugby League World Cup on the BBC|
|Venues: Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea|
|Dates: 27 October to 2 December|
|Coverage: Watch live coverage and highlights on BBC TV, Connected TV, online & the BBC Sport app and listen to live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live.|
Scotland head coach Steve McCormack has named seven uncapped players in a youthful and inexperienced squad for the Rugby League World Cup.
With six senior players ruled out through injury, Scotland have turned to a crop of youngsters as well as time-served players.
“It is a young squad but that’s exciting, too,” said McCormack.
“It’s just reward for those players. They are proof that there is talent coming through our pathway.”
Among the uncapped players called up for the tournament, which is being held in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, are Kane and Andrew Bentley, the brothers who play for Toulouse Olympique.
This will be the youngest squad that Scotland have sent to a World Cup, with eight players aged 23 or under, while only six of the squad members have earned 10 caps or more.
McCormack believes the squad has the talent to develop, with 14 of the players having contributed to Scotland qualifying for the Four Nations for the first time last year.
“When we took our youngest ever team to play in France two years ago, I said some of them would be on the plane to Australia and a lot of them will be on Sunday,” McCormack said.
“Alex Walker (age 22) has been outstanding for London Broncos this season, week-in, week-out and Lewis Tierney (who has just turned 23) was one of Catalans’ best players in their big games at the end of the season.
“Brandan (Wilkinson) has played nearly every week in the Championship for Bradford in difficult circumstances this year and has developed massively. And Shane (Toal) has been a stand-out in League One and topped it all by scoring the try that got Barrow promoted last week.”
|Scotland v Tonga: Sun, 29 Oct, 06:15 BST|
|New Zealand v Scotland: Sat, 4 Nov: 04:00 GMT|
|Samoa v Scotland: Sat, 11 Nov, 07:00 GMT|
Scotland reached the quarter-final of the last Rugby League World Cup, when it was held in England, Wales, France and Ireland. They were defeated 40-4 by New Zealand, who went on to lose to Australia in the final and are in Pool B for the finals later this month, along with Tonga and Samoa.
Since then, Scotland have won the 2014 European Championships and drew with New Zealand in the Four Nations in England last November.
“We’ve got a big group of players – the likes of (Danny) Brough, (Luke) Douglas, (Danny) Addy, Matty Russell, Kav (Ben Kavanagh) – who I know well and trust,” McCormack said.
“They have always been there for Scotland and given it their all. I know they will do that again and their experience is going to be vital to help the young lads. We’re under no illusions how tough it’s going to be, but I also know it’s going to be fantastic.”
Scotland squad: Alex Walker (London Broncos), Andrew Bentley (Toulouse Olympique), Ben Hellewell (London Broncos), Ben Kavanagh (Hull KR), Brandan Wilkinson (Bradford Bulls), Callum Phillips (Workington Town), Dale Ferguson (Huddersfield Giants), Danny Addy (Hull KR), Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants), David Scott (Batley Bulldogs), Frankie Mariano (Featherstone Rovers), James Bell (New Zealand Warriors), Jarred Anderson (Sydney Roosters), Johnny Walker (Darlington Point Roosters), Kane Bentley (Toulouse Olympique), Kieran Moran (Hull KR), Lachlan Stein (Penrith Panthers), Lewis Tierney (Wigan Warriors), Luke Douglas (St Helens), Matthew Russell (Warrington Wolves), Oscar Thomas (Bradford Bulls), Ryan Brierley (Toronto Wolfpack), Sam Brooks (Featherstone Rovers), Shane Toal (Barrow Raiders)