Young Scots set for Ireland
Saturday 15 October 2011
Scotland will field their youngest ever team when they launch the autumn European triangular series against Ireland at Scotstoun, Glasgow, tomorrow.
Hit by a series of withdrawals, coach Steve McCormack has turned to the young domestic talent progressing through Scotland's player performance pathway.
Among the new caps are Hull KR teenager David Scott, who learned the game with Easterhouse Panthers in Glasgow's East End, Hull FC's Paisley-born winger Crawford Matthews and the Edinburgh Eagles trio of Giles Lomax, Callum Cockburn and Paddy Coupar.
"We've never had this many domestic players in the squad before and, although bigger names are missing, these lads have earned their chance," said McCormack, taking charge of Scotland for an eighth campaign.
"They have all come through our system. That is a massive step forward for Scotland and this will be a fabulous opportunity for them to see what playing at senior international level is all about.
"It's the most exciting chapter in Scotland's history in my opinion."
Scotland enjoyed a record 42-22 victory over Ireland last year but, with Danny Brough switching his allegiance to England, Ben Fisher undergoing surgery and Brendon Lindsay retired, McCormack has been forced to find a new creative midfield.
Andrew Henderson takes over at hooker and Lee Paterson forms a new half-back partnership with John Duffy.
Ireland coach Mark Aston, who has taken over from Andy Kelly, has named nine uncapped players in his first squad, which also includes seven players from this year's domestic competition as he builds towards the 2013 World Cup.
The new faces include recent St Helens recruits Ian Cross and Aaron McCloskey and Tonga-born Lemeki Vunipulu, while Warrington loose forward Tyrone McCarthy returns after missing out last season through injury.
Sheffield Eagles winger Tim Bergin will miss his first match in two season as he serves a ban handed out for his involvement in a brawl in the recent Championship Grand Final.
Eagles boss Aston has been able to call on the player who crushed his Grand Final dreams, Ireland's record pointscorer Liam Finn, who posted 20 points for Featherstone in a 40-4 success.
Having recently been awarded full member status of the Rugby League International Federation, the Celtic nations will be meeting in a recognised Test match for the first time.
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