Four local youngsters step up for Scotland RL

Scotland have added four young domestic products to their player pool ahead of the European Championship opener against Wales next Friday. Two players developed by Glasgow’s Easterhouse Panthers and two from Edinburgh Eagles have been brought into the reckoning for Steve McCormack’s squad, which will be reduced to 20 ahead of the clash with the Dragons in Workington.

Stand-off Louis Senter, who has spent this season scoring tries galore from centre for Halifax’s reserve team, has been capped by Scotland at every level but full, having come through from Under-16s, 18s, Students and A team to make his first appearance in the senior squad. Senter, whose father Mark has been a major figure in ScotlandRL for the last decade or more, spent last year at Hull KR playing in their academy before a move to West Yorkshire. Like Senter, Gregor Ramsay learned the game at Easterhouse Panthers and has played at Under-16 and U18 level for his country. The 19-year-old from Alloa can play full-back or loose forward.

Two other players have stepped up from Scotland Under-19s who beat England and drew with Australia at the Commonwealth Championships in North Lanarkshire in June. Lewis Clarke, 19 and from Bonnyrigg, graduated from Lasswade High School and attended Forth Valley College last year. Having played for the Under-18s last year, the Edinburgh Eagles hooker or half-back hopes to make his Scotland senior debut and play against France at Gala on 31 October in front of his work-mates: he is an apprentice overhead lineman at Scottish Power’s Galashiels depot!

The final addition to the squad is 18-year-old Finn Murphy, a student at St Andrews University, who shone in the Commonwealth Championship playing on the left wing but is usually a half-back. Murphy was a trialist for Scotland RU Under-16s while a pupil at George Heriot’s School and has played union for Edinburgh at each age level before switching codes with the Eagles.

“Bringing these lads in will do them the world of good,” said head coach Steve McCormack. “They will get the chance to see the likes of Danny Brough, Ben Kavanagh, Joe Wardle etc. – top Super League players – close up and learn from them. We did this with Davie Scott three years ago and look how far he’s come since then. Hopefully these lads will do the same. Louis has shown he can cope with a step up in rugby this season and one or two of these lads could make the final squad.”

Winger or full-back Scott, from Stirling, converted to league at Easterhouse Panthers and is now a regular for Doncaster in the Championship and played for Scotland in the World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand 11 months ago.