The 2016 Four Nations will have a new team competing as England, Australia & New Zealand will be facing fixtures against Scotland. It will the first time the bravehearts will compete against England and Australia while it will only be the second time they go up against the Kiwis after their 40-4 defeat in the 2013 World Cup Quarter Final.
The Scots led by head coach Steve McCormack qualified for the tournament as winners of the 2014 European Cup. Heading into the tournament the Scots were the lowest ranked side being ranked 11th in the world. Despite being the lowest ranked side, they defeated Ireland and Wales to top the group ahead of their final group game away V France. The French needed to win by 18 points to secure first place and qualification and it looked to be going their way until prop Jonathan Walker scored with three minutes left on the clock and captain Danny Brough converted to reduce the deficit to 16 points and the Scots finished as group winners courtesy of a points difference only +3 better than the French.
2015 was a poor year for the Scots as they lost all three games and finished bottom of the group, but since the end of their final game the attentions have switched to this years tournament. I spoke to Steve McCormack just after the European cup and when asked how the preparations were going for the tournament, McCormack said “They are going well, planning started the day after we won the European Championship last year. Over the next two years we have the four nations and then the World Cup in Australia. We fully intend to put a squad together that will do well in both competitions. We have some outstanding established Super League and NRL players we can pick from and we have also had a good look at some of the younger players who are eligible. Last year (2014) myself and Dave Rotheram spent some time with the New South Wales squad in preparation for the second state of origin game in Melbourne. That gave us a great insight into what we will be up against next year. I am also lucky to work in a great environment at Wigan. Shaun Wane and his coaching staff set unbelievably high standards and expect success at every level. That’s the same culture we will be taking into the Scotland Camp.”
During the 2016 tournament nothingbutleague.com will have access to the Scotland RL camp and I will be attending fixtures and the training camp to bring you all the behind the scenes interviews with McCormack and his players. All at nothingbutleague would like to thank Scotland RL for the opportunity and wish them all the best during the tournament.
Cumbria Select – Friday 21st October, 7pm – Craven Park, Barrow
Australia – Friday 28th October, 8pm – KC Lightstream Stadium, Hull
England – Saturday 5th November, 5.30pm – Richo Arena, Coventry
New Zealand – Friday 11th November, 8pm – Derwent Park, Workington.
Final* – Sunday 20th November, 2.30pm – Anfield, Liverpool
*depends on qualification from the group.