Harris wants one last crack at world with Wales

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Iestyn Harris knows how he wants his international rugby league career to finish – and that is with a fanfare in Australia next year, rather than a whimper at Old Anniesland today.

Harris played a league international for Wales for the first time in seven years last Sunday, steering them to a 50-10 victory over Papua New Guinea in Bridgend. Impressive though that performance was, it was all about preparing for today's main event. Wales need to beat Scotland by eight points or more in Glasgow to qualify for the World Cup next autumn.

"My contract at Bradford will be up and, although I might consider carrying on if I was playing really well, a World Cup would be a great way to go out," he says. "I'll decide after the tournament, but I'll be 32 and I want to get into coaching."

After his sojourn in rugby union, there were those who doubted whether Harris would have much desire to wear the other red shirt again, doubts that were heightened when he pulled out of last year's internationals with injury.

Those thoughts were banished by the game at Brewery Field, where he and the other blue-chip player available to the Welsh, Lee Briers, rolled up their sleeves and bossed the show.

Scotland will be a different proposition from a disorientated PNG side, consisting almost entirely of players who had never ventured far from home before.

Although Scotland were well beaten by France in their warm-up match, they have two key players returning today in Andrew Henderson and Danny Brough. It was Brough who was instrumental in their victory when the two teams met last year, and he has shown with Castleford this season what a big-match player he can be.

It is not quite the end of the road for the losers today. Under the convoluted rules of the qualifying stage, they will go into a repêchage involving two more games. The trouble with thatis that an ominously strong-looking Samoa loom as likely opponents, so both Scotland and Wales would much rather get the job done today.

Comments