Five Debuts For Scots

Scotland are set to hand debuts to at least five players in tomorrow?s European Nations Cup tie against Wales at Bridgend. The fifth will become the 100th player to represent Scotland since senior rugby league internationals began in 1995. Gateshead full-back Wade Liddell, wingers Jon Steel of Hull KR and Dougie Flockhart from Dumfries, Halifax hooker Ben Fisher and St Albans Centurions forward Nick Surtees are all expected to be in the 17 and with the uncapped forwards Dave Simm (Edinburgh Eagles and Wigan St Judes) and Steve Deviney (Easterhouse Panthers) also vying for a place on the bench, new faces abound.

STEEL SET FOR DUEL-CODE DEBUT

Scotland are set to hand debuts to at least five players in tomorrow?s European Nations Cup tie against Wales at Bridgend. The fifth will become the 100th player to represent Scotland since senior rugby league internationals began in 1995. Gateshead full-back Wade Liddell, wingers Jon Steel of Hull KR and Dougie Flockhart from Dumfries, Halifax hooker Ben Fisher and St Albans Centurions forward Nick Surtees are all expected to be in the 17 and with the uncapped forwards Dave Simm (Edinburgh Eagles and Wigan St Judes) and Steve Deviney (Easterhouse Panthers) also vying for a place on the bench, new faces abound.

If he plays Steel will become the sixth Scotland player to be capped at both league and union since the League team was formed after the barriers between the codes came down in 1995, following Alan Tait, Andy Craig, George Graham, James McLaren and Gareth Morton, who is back in the League squad after returning south of the border with Hull KR this year. Fifteen Scotland Rugby Union internationalists moved to Rugby League before Tait in the 1990s, starting with Alex Laidlaw in 1897. Steel won five caps for Scotland during his time with the Glasgow and Borders clubs, while Currie FC star Flockhart played in the Rugby Union Under-21 World Cup for Scotland in Argentina last summer.

FISHER HOPING TO FULFILL FATHER?S DREAM

Ben Fisher is desperate to make his Scotland debut tomorrow as a tribute to his late father. The Halifax hooker has impressed in training and is expected to be handed the number 9 shirt by coach Steve McCormack for the European Nations Cup clash with Wales in Bridgend after an excellent season in National League 1. Although Halifax lost in the promotion play-offs to promoted Castleford, Fisher still hopes to start next season in the engage Super League.

?I had two goals this year: to play for Scotland and to get a Super League contract,? admits the Sydney-born hooker. ?Hopefully I will do both through this. I?m delighted with how things have gone for me. The lads are in great form in training and the team is shaping up.?

Fisher?s Glaswegian father Alan emigrated to Australia but up until his death six years ago remained a proud Scot. ?My family are thrilled for me and they were actually going to fly over from Sydney to see me play but they decided it cost too much to come all this way to see maybe one or two games. And I wouldn?t be able to spend much time with them anyway. But they have said how proud my Dad would have been. He was always ?Glasgow this, Scotland that? and I know it would have meant the world to him to see me play for Scotland.?

Ironically, Fisher only got his opportunity when Ian Henderson withdrew from the squad to play for Bradford Bulls in the engage Super League play-offs, culminating in Saturday?s Grand Final against Leeds Rhinos. Henderson?s brother Andrew is one of two alternative options at hooker in the Scotland squad, with Hull?s Danny Brough expected to be at the fulcrum of the midfield trio.

?I know Ian because I played with his brother Kevin at Sydney Roosters. Our old men used to talk about Scotland and Glasgow all the time. Now it?s turned full circle because the Bulls tried to sign me in mid-season but Halifax wouldn?t release me and instead they got Ian from the Roosters. Now he?s pulled out and I?m in the Scotland squad instead so I am happy with how it?s all turned out.?

www.scotlandrugbyleague.org.uk

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