29 Oct 2014

Avoiding defeat at Netherdale, Galashiels against France on Friday night will secure Scotland their first-ever rugby league title and qualification for the 2016 Four Nations tournament.

Steve McCormack’s men, who have convincingly beaten Wales and Ireland, have even more reason to celebrate, the Halloween encounter marking the 20th anniversary of the formation of the Bravehearts and the tenth year of the coach being at the helm.

McCormack makes two changes to his 20-man squad for the game, with Leigh Centurions prop Jonathan Walker returning from his one-match suspension to take the place of Joe McClean, who made his debut against Ireland last Saturday, and uncapped London Broncos centre Harvey Burnett replaces injured Brett Phillips.

Son of a Glasgow-born policeman, Burnett impressed on his Scotland U19s debut at the Commonwealth Championships this summer.

“We can do it, definitely,” said Huddersfield Giants star Joe Wardle of the Scot’s chances. “If we play like we did in Ireland in the second half, we are with a chance.

“Winning the European Championship would be outstanding, an amazing achievement for Scotland and give us the chance to play against England, Australia and New Zealand. We can do the country proud.”

France know that to head the table, Richard Agar’s men must win by a margin of 18 points and then their fate will be in the hands of Ireland, who play Wales in Wrexham on Sunday. The Tricolors have named an unchanged squad and assistant coach Olivier Janzac has no doubt about the size of the task that faces them.

“Our defensive structure was better against Wales,” he said, “But we need more vision on attack and to find a way to combat Danny Brough’s exceptional kicking game – he is a true leader of men.

“The atmosphere is very good within the group. The players want to do well, we are still in the race.

SCOTLAND v FRANCE, Galashiels Friday 31 October (kick off 7.30pm) Tickets £10/£5 from and available on the gate.

Danny Addy (Bradford Bulls), Nathan Massey (Canterbury Bulldogs), David Scott (Doncaster), Gregor Ramsay (Easterhouse Panthers), Lewis Clarke, Finn Murphy (Edinburgh Eagles), Ben Hellewell (Featherstone Rovers), Louis Senter (Halifax), Danny Brough, Joe Wardle (Huddersfield Giants), Sonny Esslemont , Adam Walker (Hull KR), Jonathan Walker (Leigh), Harvey Burnett, Oscar Thomas, Alex Walker (London Broncos), Josh Barlow (Swinton Lions), Alex Hurst (Tweed Heads Seagulls), Joe McLean (Uni of Gloucs All Golds), Corbyn Kilday (Wakefield Trinity), Ben Kavanagh (Widnes Vikings), Callum Phillips (Workington Town)

Clement Soubeyras (Carcassone), Jason Baitieri, Julian Bousquet, Damien Cardace, Benjamin Garcia, Antoni Maria, Eloi Pelissier (Catalans Dragons), Kevin Larroyer (Hull Kr), John Boudebza, Jamal Fakir (Fc Lézignan Xiii), Remy Marginet, Frederic Vaccari (Palau), Theo Fages (Salford), Jean-Philippe Baile, Matthias Pala, Mickael Simon (St-Esteve Xiii Catalan), Tony Gigot, Benjamin Jullien (So Avignon), Aaron Wood (Toulouse Olympic), Aurélien Decarnin (Villeneuve)