Scotland roll out big guns

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The Independent Online

Scotland were true to their word and announced a series of eye-catching names yesterday in their World Cup squad - although doubt almost immediately surfaced over one of them.

Scotland were true to their word and announced a series of eye-catching names yesterday in their World Cup squad - although doubt almost immediately surfaced over one of them.

The Scots have listed Tim Brasher and Paul McGregor, two members of Australia's World Cup-winning squad in 1995, plus two high-calibre British-based Australians, Adrian Vowles and Graham Mackay. Of the four, Brasher is the most startling addition. Widely regarded as the best full-back in the world not long ago, he asked to be considered for Scotland, for whom he has a grandparental qualification, when he was left out of the Australian squad.

Reports from Australia suggest, however, that he could withdraw from the Scots' plans, either because of a shoulder problem or because he has been placed on standby by Australia. With or without him, Scotland's roster, announced in Edinburgh yesterday, has a more formidable look than might have been expected a few months ago. "These guys are the calibre that every team in the World Cup needs," said the Scottish coach, Shaun McRae.

McGregor has been out all year after a shoulder reconstruction and released by his club, St George-Illawarra. "The World Cup is his chance to put himself in the shop window and find another club," McRae said.

McRae has made a remarkable impact with Leeds since arriving via French rugby union in May, while Vowles is the reigning Man of Steel as last year's outstanding player of the Super League. The new players leave less room for the English-born Scots who played in last year's home internationals, let alone any native-born player, but McRae promised: "These guys will be proud to wear the shirt and represent Scotland."

The team, which could face England or Australia in the quarter-finals if they get through the group stages, will be captained by the Huddersfield hooker, Danny Russell.

Another member of Australia's 1995 World Cup squad, Jim Dymock, has been confirmed as the London Broncos' latest signing for 2001. Dymock, who is to play for Fiji in this year's tournament, is coming to Britain on a two-year contract, along with Nigel Roy, the centre from the Northern Eagles.

Wakefield look certain to still be in Super League next season after a meeting of clubs agreed to their survival plan, which involve applying for a voluntary agreement with their creditors. Trinity will get a full share of the competition's money from Sky television for the first time next year, on condition that they appoint a financial controller

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