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Chance to try out for Scotland squad

The man who masterminded Scotland's stunning performance at this season's World Cup is sending out an open invitation to the country's teenagers to show whether they have what it takes to become international rugby league players.

Steve McCormack's efforts in guiding a scratch team - it was made up almost entirely of players brought up in England and Australia but all with close blood ties to Scotland - to the Rugby League World Cup quarter-finals was hailed throughout the sport.

Captained by Danny Brough - he had been overlooked by England in spite of winning Super League's prestigious 'Man of Steel' player of the season award - they upset teams representing Tonga, Italy and the USA that were packed with Australia-based NRL players, to earn a last-eight meeting with then-world champions New Zealand.

There is an acute awareness within the sport as a whole and Rugby League Scotland in particular that their efforts will ultimately prove futile if they do not begin to bring through homegrown talent.

The scale of the opportunity was demonstrated in that quarter-final by the presence of David Scott, a 20-year-old from Stirling who switched to rugby league when he felt he was not going to get the opportunities he craved in rugby union.

Having earned his chance to play in the quarter-final with a fine performance in the decisive pool match against the USA, Scott - who is now forging a professional career for himself in rugby league - was pitted directly up against Manu Vatuvei, the Auckland Warriors winger who outweighed him by some 40 kilos and gave a superb account of himself.

The forthcoming Commonwealth Nines tournament, an under-19s event to be staged at Cumbernauld's Broadwood Stadium in June, consequently represents a perfect opportunity to introduce Scottish youngsters to the requirements of the elite game and McCormack is keen to unearth further talent.

The tournament promises to be high calibre since, with only a few exceptions, the leading rugby league nations are all within the Commonwealth and this is part of the sport's campaign to push itself up the pecking order of those contending to be accepted into future Commonwealth Games.

McCormack is consequently planning to run open selection days on either side of the border, at Edinburgh on Sunday May 25 and at Leigh on Sunday June 1.

As with rugby union sevens, which has facilitated the emergence of talent like Carlin Isles, the American speedster who has caught the eye sufficiently to be given a contract by Glasgow Warriors in spite of having no track record in the 15-a-side game, league nines requires less technical knowhow.

This is then an opportunity for pacy, physical players who either feel their prospects in rugby union are limited or who simply want to widen their options, to show McCormack and his coaches what they can do.

Players interested in attending the selection days must send their contact and playing details via email to info@scotlandrl.com stating whether they wish to attend the selection day in Edinburgh or Leigh. They must be born in either 1995 or 1996 to qualify and either the player, their parent or grandparent must be born in Scotland, or the player must have resided in Scotland for the last three years.

Those with any queries about the process should email Gavin Willacy, Scotland Rugby League's media and marketing advisor, at rlbravehearts@hotmail.com

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