20 Oct 2014

Scotland coach Steve McCormack was delighted with his new-look side’s 42-18 win over Wales on Friday night but knows they will have to step it up again if they are to beat Ireland in Dublin on Saturday. The Irish stunned tournament favourites France on Saturday with a 22-12 win over Les Chanticleers at Tallaght Stadium, meaning whoever wins in Dublin next weekend will have one hand on the European Cup. Neither Scotland nor Ireland have ever won the continental title over two decades of trying.

"We have obviously got a lot of improving to do,” admitted McCormack, whose side were pegged back to 14-12 early in the second half by a belligerent Wales at wind- and rainswept Workington. “We got the cobwebs off in the first half but all credit to Wales, as they had a young side out, too. We felt, if we could just bide our time and be nice and patient, we would get some points and that was the case.  In the second half we played the way we wanted to play and played the conditions much better.”

Captain Danny Brough (pictured) pulled the strings for Scotland throughout, passing the 100 points mark before leaving the field seven minutes from time. Any thoughts McCormack may have had of resting Brough in Ireland would have been eliminated by the Wolfhounds’ shock victory over France meaning they are now in the fight for the title.

"Broughie was first class again and has been all week,” said McCormack. “He's a top player. There’s no difference between him and young Callum Phillips, who won his first cap though. They’ve all got the same values and no one treats them any different. Broughie’s a top player but attitude-wise, he’s spot on too. Callum's been waiting for his opportunity and took it with both hands, he was brilliant when he came on.  For both brothers (Brett and Callum Phillips) to score in front of their home crowd is brilliant for them.”

While they will await the disciplinary panel’s decision on prop Jonathan Walker, who was placed on report by referee James Child for a first half challenge, Scotland came through the game unscathed with just a couple of minor knocks and a groin muscle sprain for Alex Hurst, who otherwise enjoyed his first game since March and was taken off as a precaution. That enabled Halifax winger Louis Senter to come on for his debut.

"Louis Senter is the only player to represent Scotland at every single age and level, so it's a fantastic moment for him,” said McCormack about the Easterhouse Panthers product, who has played for his country at Under-16s, 18s, Student, A team and now senior level. “We've now got a player who has come through all the pathway playing alongside someone of Danny Brough’s stature, and that is testament to everyone up there (in Scotland)."

With group members based from Edinburgh and Glasgow to London in the south, Liverpool in the west and Hull in the east, Scotland had a couple of days off, allowing their part-time players to return to work on Monday and Tuesday before re-gathering on Wednesday at St Helens. They will train at Thatto Heath Crusaders’ Close Street ground on Wednesday and Thursday before flying to Dublin on Friday morning. Kick off on Saturday at Tallaght Stadium is 2pm, with the Ireland v Scotland Under-19s curtain-raiser beforehand.

Scotland complete their programme at home to France at Gala on Friday 31 October. Tickets available now at priced at £10 adults and £5 juniors.