Playing before the full international at Stade Gilbert Brutus on Saturday night, A team coach McNabb has welcomed McCormack’s decision to give several of his senior players a game against the French in order to see as many players in action before the World Cup qualifier with Wales on Sunday 4 November at Glasgow Hawks.
"This is a really big game for the A team,” says McNabb after Scotland’s first day in training camp. “It’s the first time we have had such a close association with the pro side and all the guys are buzzing for that reason. Guys know that they really need to stand up and be counted in what I'm sure will be a very hard, physical battle. I'm particularly looking forward to working to seeing Tom Wild, Barry Earl, David Simm and Mark Webster in the pack together and I'm sure they will set a great platform for us.”
Scotland A will be captained for the first time by Edinburgh Eagles’ half-back Paul Kelly – one of eight players from the Scottish champions in the squad – who has flown back from Australia to play. “His commitment has been immense and him flying back from Oz for this fixture shows how much it means to play for Scotland,” adds McNabb. “I'm sure his passion will rub off on everyone as he is one of these great characters that Rugby League seems to produce.”
Kelly replaces Andy Todd who has been called up to the full pro team along with David Lynn and Mark Slatter. “I'd also like to congratulate the A team guys who have achieved Pro selection and wish them all the best for their first caps. We’re all delighted to be there to see it and are really proud of them."
The full Scotland team for the international with France will be announced at 11am Thursday morning.
Scotland A to face France Federale:
Neil Gibson, Dave Vernon, Mike Wallace, Douglas Thomson, Barry Earl, Paul Kelly ©, Giles Lomax, David Simm (all Edinburgh Eagles); Rab Truesdale, Blair Skipper (both Fife Lions); Mark Webster, Scott Porteous (both Liverpool Buccaneers); Richard Knight (Leicester Phoenix); Dene Miller (St Albans Centurions); Mike Benson (Kingston Warriors); Tom Wild (Rochdale Hornets).