McCORMACK HAPPY WITH STEADY PROGRESS

By Gavin Willacy - October 28 2006
Scotland coach Steve McCormack is not worrying about the threat from Wales’ Super League stars Lee Briers and Iestyn Harris as his team prepares for Sunday’s World Cup qualifier in Bridgend.
“Obviously they have some quality players in the squad and being at home they are probably favourites – but that’s the way we like it,” said McCormack, who saw his team go done to an agonising defeat at the same venue in last year’s European Nations Cup. “We’re confident ourselves and we’ve concentrated on what we are going to do rather than them.”

Although they have not played for a year, Scotland arrived in Swansea on Wednesday after three days in training camp at Huddersfield and McCormack is delighted with how things have gone.

“We’re more advanced this time than we were last year. Things have gone really well and I’m delighted with how the squad have gelled. The attitude of the lads has been the best ever.”

McCormack names his team on Saturday morning and is expected to hand debuts to Bradford Bulls hooker Ian Henderson and Huddersfield Giants prop Paul Jackson. “Having players like Hendo and Paul in the squad has been a big boost. They’ve played in big games this season and worked with good coaches. They know what it’s all about. They’ve added a lot of knowledge to our group.”

McCormack has also been impressed by amateur new boy Dene Miller. “Dene has fitted in really well – he’s been working with Danny Brough this morning and he runs some great lines. He’s got the physique to handle this level and I think he can step up. He’s a real character.”

Sunday’s encounter is the first leg of the tie with the winners going straight to the 2008 World Cup in Australia. The runners-up will play-off against Samoa plus either USA or Japan and either Ireland, Lebanon or Russia. USA play Japan and Lebanon play Russia on Saturday (28 September).

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