Scotland coach Steve McCormack is preparing for the arrival of his NRL stars to add the final ingredients to what he hopes is a winning mix at RLWC2013.
McCormack is pleased with the combination of new talent and experienced stars at his disposal and is expecting a good performance when Scotland play their only warm-up match before the World Cup against Papua New Guinea at Featherstone Rovers’ Bigfellas Stadium on Saturday (2pm).
Despite several withdrawals due to injury, Scotland’s squad looks as strong as any of the mid-ranking teams at RLWC2013 and McCormack, who masterminded the 2008 World Cup campaign, believes it is capable of an upset or two.
“It’s a pleasure to get the players together,” he said.
“As in previous years, they’ve been superb. We have policy of leaving egos at the door, a ‘no big heads’ policy – everybody mucks in, whether you’ve just won Man of Steel or if you’re someone who’s winning their first cap.
“It’s arguably one of best squads Scotland have ever had – there are some exciting young players, like David Scott, who’s come through the Scottish player development pathway, to the likes of Danny Brough, Dale Ferguson and the NRL players. It’s a really exciting squad and I’m expecting big things.”
The NRL stars – Peter Wallace (Brisbane Broncos), Luke Douglas (Gold Coast) and Kane Linnett (North Queensland) - were only due to arrive yesterday, but were set to meet up with their international team-mates in training at Featherstone and recover in time to play some part against Papua New Guinea, who also have a sprinkling of NRL and Super League stars.
“We’ll see how they cope,” admitted McCormack. “It’s a long journey from Australia but we’ve sent things over to help them deal with jet-lag and they’re quite experienced players.
“A week after PNG we’re playing Tonga so It’s going to be as physical as it gets.
“They’re going to be one of the most physical sides you can face in world rugby league. They’re perfect opposition ahead of the Tonga game and will be very well coached with high expectations. I think it will be an outstanding game.”
Tickets for Saturday’s match are adults £10, concessions £5 and under 16s free. Pre-match hospitality is available for £10 a person with a hot meal at 1pm and guests having the chance to watch the game from the 1921 Suite. To book, call commercial manager Paul Taylor on 01977 702386 by 4pm today (Friday) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
l New Rovers signing Gareth Moore will not be in the World Cup after injury forced him out of the Scotland squad.