Mower picks Scotland over England

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The Independent Online

Australian-born Andrew Mower has been picked for Scotland's rugby union squad after finally deciding his international future.

Australian-born Andrew Mower has been picked for Scotland's rugby union squad after finally deciding his international future.

Mower could also have played for England, Wales or Australia because of his ancestral links with those countries.

He was recently named as part of England's development squad preparing for this winter's international matches.

But he has settled on Scotland and immediately walked into its squad.

Scotland coach Ian McGeechan named flanker Mower, who plays for Newcastle Falcons, in a strong 31-man training squad ahead of their autumn Tests against the United States, Australia and Samoa.

Mower said: "I'm proud to be selected for the Scotland squad.

"My grandfather is Scottish and I have aspirations to play for Scotland. But first things first and that means I need to keep playing well for Newcastle.

"I did have options to play for four countries - Scotland, England, Wales and Australia - and the whole situation has come about very quickly.

"I have thought about it long and hard over the last week and I've also talked to the Scots in the Newcastle team.

"In the end I reckoned that Scotland's style of play would best suit my style and I have always enjoyed watching Scotland's games on the television."

Mower, who qualifies for Scotland because of a maternal grandfather born in Glasgow, played first-grade rugby with the Gordon Club in his native Sydney for three years, helping them to a grand final victory against Northern Suburb in 1998.

He also competed for guest sides in the Hong Kong 10s tournament and was in the New South Wales training squad prior to joining London Irish last season where he understudied Irish international Kieron Dawson.

McGeechan, meanwhile, insisted he has no worries about where the player's commitments lie and he feels his decision represents a big coup for the Scotland side.

"Put it this way, I think he has made the decision that he wants to train with us and take the option of playing for Scotland," said McGeechan.

"He has been approached by other countries and I have been speaking to him regularly over the last two or three weeks, but he wants to commit to us and we'll take it from there."

Nevertheless, Edinburgh Reivers' Iain Fullarton and Saracens' Scott Murray were originally selected for the squad but had to be ruled out through injury.

England coach Clive Woodward attempted to put a brave face on Mower's decision.

However, although the back-row would not have come into contention for selection for the Six Nations champions in the immediate future, his performances for Newcastle this season suggest he would have provided more than useful cover.

Woodward said: "We have heard Andrew's decision today and while we were looking forward to working with him as a member of the development squad, he has made his choice and we wish him all the best for the future."

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