Rugby League World Cup: One true Scott hoping to prolong fairy tale against holders New Zealand

David Scott is the one born-and-raised Scot in the squad that has amazed the Rugby League World Cup by reaching the quarter-finals

If you listen very carefully and the wind outside the Scotland team's hotel in Leeds is blowing in the right direction, you can hear a Scots accent.

Not only that, you can hear David Scott's accent, because the 20-year-old from Stirling is the one born-and-raised Scot in the squad that has amazed the Rugby League World Cup by reaching the quarter-finals against the holders New Zealand at Headingley; it's the man who puts the Scott into Scotland.

Playing on the wing against the formidable Kiwis at Headingley may seem like mission impossible, minnows against world champions, but it is the stuff of dreams for Scott. "To think I'll be on the pitch with Sonny Bill Williams and Isaac Luke," he says, wide-eyed.

But for him, Scotland might not be there at all. An hour into a final group game they had to win, the United States' Matt Petersen was on his way to a try in the corner that would have put them ahead. Scott lined him up and hit him with everything, knocking him into touch and dislodging the ball. It was a spectacular tackle. "It changed the game," says the Scotland coach, Steve McCormack. "But he's been fantastic ever since he came into the squad, which is why he'll be starting against New Zealand."

Scott got into rugby union with the local club in Stirling at the age of seven because his brother was playing. On television, though, he saw another brand of rugby. "I just thought, 'What a great game', and wanted to get involved with it. I managed to contact the Scottish Rugby League and they steered me towards the Easterhouse Panthers," he says.

"I was still playing union as well and looking for a contract with either game. Hull KR had a partnership with the Scottish league at the time. They came to watch, fortunately I had a good game and they signed me."

Originally a half-back, Scott made the switch to the outside backs when a winger got injured at Rovers and he was the only back on the bench. First-team opportunities were limited, however, there and on loan at Featherstone. Next season, he will be at Doncaster, while continuing with his degree at Hull University.

"I think I was brought into the World Cup squad for the experience and, hopefully, my inclusion will encourage other Scottish youngsters to try the game, because if they did they would love it like I do," he says.

Scott is not the only player in the squad born north of the border. Full-back Matty Russell was born in Irvine but brought up in Wigan and he too has been a revelation. There would have been another, if the Newcastle Knights' winger James McManus had not broken his foot before the tournament. He was joint-leading try-scorer in Australia's NRL last season, so his loss was a major blow. But it is his boots Scott is effectively filling. "It was unfortunate for Scotland but fortunate for me," Scott says.

Scott may be making a name for himself at this tournament but he is about to come up against some very well-known players, such as Manu Vatuvei and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. With respect to Petersen, it's a different ball game. "The way I read it is that it's 13 men against 13 men. We just have to go out there and play with pride and passion. That's what people have done so far, whether they qualify through their grandmother, grandfather or whatever," Scott says.

As the one fully qualified kilt-wearer, though, he finds himself in an anomalous situation. "Here I am playing for Scotland and I've still got everyone ripping into me for my Scots accent," he says.

"In an ideal world, there'd be more like him," says McCormack. "But there are some coming through."

For now, though, Scott carries the banner single-handedly. Realistically, the great adventure he has been proud to be a part of should end when the World Cup holders get their hands on them, but he relishes the sheer unlikelihood of it all.

"It's a great challenge to go out and play against the world's best. They're world champions and that's for a reason. But rather than us being worried about them, they should be worried about us."

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas
footballChelsea vs West Ham live kicks off coverage of all 10 of Boxing Day matches
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all