Scotland Rugby League will stage its first ever international in the Borders when it takes on France in the European Championship at Galashiels on Friday 31 October, kick-off 7.30pm. Stars of Super League from north and south of the border and across the Channel will descend on Netherdale as Gala RFC host the Bravehearts’ 20th anniversary match.
This Saturday – 6 September – will be 20 years to the day since Scotland RL was formed in Edinburgh, following seven years of student rugby league activity. The following summer Scotland played their first international (against Ireland in Dublin) and have since competed in every European Championship and World Cup event, reaching the quarter-finals of the RL World Cup last autumn.
Scotland will feature several Super League stars and a host of up and coming young players given their chance by head coach Steve McCormack. “This time last year hardly anyone had heard of Matty Russell (from Irvine) or Davie Scott (from Stirling),” said McCormack, who blooded both backs as teenagers. “By the end of the World Cup they were both playing in a quarter-final against Sonny Bill Williams and the rest of that awesome New Zealand team. It will be great to see who is next off the block.”
Scotland were led down the Headingley tunnel for that quarter-final by Scottish rugby league legend David Rose, a winner of the 1954 World Cup with Great Britain, and one of dozens of Borderers to turn professional in the last century and become great successes in the 13-man code. It is hoped that many of the men who contributed to Scottish rugby league’s heritage will be guests at Netherdale for the Borders’ first taste of international rugby league.
It will be the third and final game for Scotland in the 2014 European Championship, having played Wales at Workington on 17 October and Ireland in Dublin on 25 September. The winners qualify for the 2016 Four Nations tournament against England, Australia and New Zealand.
Tickets to see Steve McCormack’s Scotland taken on a France side that will be based upon Super League title-challengers Catalans Dragons are just £10 for adults with Concessions for Under-16s and Over 65s at £5. A special priced family ticket will enable an adult and two Under-16s to attend for only £15. Tickets for all areas of the stadium can be ordered online by clicking the match logo at scotlandrl.com or on the gate.