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New Scotland coach Steve McCormack has named ten uncapped players in his 20 man squad for the European Nations Cup games with Wales and Ireland next week. They include Wakefield Trinity forward Duncan MacGillivray, former South Africa captain Jamie Bloem, York star half-back Danny Brough, ex Glasgow rugby union player Chris Birchall of Halifax and Bradford Bulls youngster Alex Szostak, along with four players promoted from the Scotland A squad. One of those, Glasgow Bulls? Andy McPhail, broke the points-scoring record with 38 in the win over Serbia in July.
The remaining ten players have just 40 caps between them but the side, skippered again by Leeds Rhinos prop Wayne MacDonald and featuring Balmain Tigers scrum-half Andrew Henderson - who paid for his own flight back from Sydney to play ? contains many of the players who beat France in Narbonne in Scotland?s last international 11 months ago.
McDonald is joined by three other Super League forwards ? Mike Wainwright of Warrington Wolves returns after a five year absence, the Australian-born MacGillivray, and Salford?s Neil Lowe, who has spent much of the last year out injured. Young second-rower Szostak gets the call-up after helping Bradford Bulls Under-21s win the Senior Academy title, while former St Helens and London Broncos hooker Dave McConnell returns to international action having just won promotion to Super League with Leigh Centurions. Another product of the Bulls academy is Halifax prop Birchall, who was playing for Glasgow?s Celtic League union club this time last year.
Of last year?s squad there is no place for record try-scorer Danny Arnold, who ended the season at Chorley, Oldham?s Jamie Bunyan and James Houston of Featherstone, while Lee Gilmour is expected to be named in the Great Britain squad, and Richard Horne, Paul Anderson of Oldham, Joe Berry, John Duffy, Oliver Wilkes, Darren Shaw and Iain Morrison are all injured or having off-season operations. Brian Hendry, PJ Soloman and Lee Penny are all now playing rugby union.
?I think it?s a good mixture of experience and youth, with some size and power there as well as some extremely gifted creative players,? said Scotland manager Richard Thewliss. ?We go into training camp on Tuesday at Inverclyde and will be ready for Wales on Sunday in Glasgow.?
Kick off at Old Anniesland is 3pm. Scotland then travel to Navan to play Ireland on Friday 29 October with the group winners heading to Warrington for the final on 7 November. Tickets for the game against Wales are priced at ?10 (?5 concessions) and are available in advance via www.paypal.co.uk by sending a secure payment to Scotland Rugby League at [email protected] or by sending a cheque payable to ?Scotland Rugby League? to Scotland Rugby League, 20 Trongate, Glasgow G1 5ES.
Scotland squad: Nathan Graham (Batley, 8), Andy McPhail (Glasgow Bulls, 0), Jamie Bloem (Halifax, 0), Iain Marsh (Oldham, 0), Pete Shaw (Loughborough, 0), Danny Brough (York, 0), Andrew Henderson (Balmain Tigers, 2), Wayne McDonald (Leeds Rhinos, 8), Dave McConnell (Leigh, 2), Jack Howieson (Sheffield Eagles, 2), Mike Wainwright (Warrington Wolves, 4), Duncan MacGillivray (Wakefield Trinity, 0), Alex Szostak (Bradford Bulls, 0), Matt Tunstall (Workington, 2), Ross Marshall (Ardrossan, 0), Neil Lowe (Salford, 4), Andy Brown (Fife Lions, 0), Chris Birchall (Halifax, 0), Spencer Miller (Whitehaven, 2), Jason Roach (Swinton, 6). Stand-by: Scott Rhodes (York, 4).