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Scots will return to Workington in bid to rekindle World Cup fire for home match against Wales

Scotland will return to their home-from-home in Workington when the European Championships get under way in October and will finish the campaign at Gala's Netherdale a fortnight later.

Danny Brough captained Scotland at last year's Rugby League World Cup
Danny Brough captained Scotland at last year's Rugby League World Cup

All roads for Scotland's best rugby league players may lead to Australia over the next few years with national teams set to take part in both the Rugby League World Cup and the Commonwealth Nines competition, which had its inaugural staging in Cumbernauld last month and will be held again in the Gold Coast in 2018 as part of a long-term project to get rugby league into the full Commonwealth Games.

However, they are hoping that returning to the less glamorous, but hugely welcoming, west Cumbrian town will launch them towards further glory this autumn, since their target is a place in the prestigious Four Nations' Championship, in which the European Championship winners will compete with Australia, England and New Zealand in 2016.

"We'll be staying at the same hotel in Workington as we used for the World Cup last year, because they could not have made us feel more at home," Keith Hogg, Rugby League Scotland's chairman, said of what could be considered a controversial decision to play at Derwent Park in what has been allocated as a home tie on the other side of the border.

"We are genuinely trying to build on the legacy of the World Cup, when we had two great games there which set up our successful run to the knockout stages, and we were brilliantly supported, so that is why we wanted to play our first match against Wales there.

"As we look to build on that success and promote the sport in Scotland it was also important to ensure that we played what we hope will be our decisive match against France in front of a Scottish crowd and there is a long relationship between the Borders and rugby league so we felt [Netherdale] was the natural place to take that match after we have been to Ireland on October 24.

"It is a bit of a journey from Workington to Gala, but not an undoable one, so we are also hoping that some of those who supported us at the World Cup will be prepared to make that trip too."

After Scotland produced another highly encouraging performance at the Commonwealth Nines, contested among under-19 teams at Broadwood Stadium, there will be further opportunities for those age-grade players to catch the eye of the national selectors with a fixture in Ireland on the same weekend as the senior side is there and then a meeting with the English Community Lions in either the Borders or Edinburgh ahead of the meeting with France.

"We want to involve the under-19s with the senior squad, partly so they can see what is required when working under national coaches Steve McCormack and Dave Rotherham, but also because some of them will have a really good shot at being in the World Cup squad in three years time."

To that end a number of the best amateur Scottish players, whose season ended last Sunday with Aberdeen's 30-20 defeat of Edinburgh in a hard fought Grand Final, will also be invited to join the squad, while they will also form the vast majority of the squad that will meet Wales in an A international in the Granite City this weekend.

"There are three or four of the current home-based players who would not be far off being full-time professionals if they were playing elsewhere," reckons Hogg.

Scotland have suffered a major blow ahead of the European Championships with Peter Wallace, one of their Australian-based National Rugby League players who gelled superbly with Huddersfield Giant Danny Brough in forming a play-making hub around which the World Cup campaign was built, being ruled out.

He has suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage that will rule him out of the game for several months.

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