Squad unchanged for Gala match

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Scotland Rugby League head coach Steve McCormack will stick with the group of players who slipped up against Wales last Friday.

The disappointing performance at Wrexham and 18-12 defeat means Scotland must beat the Irish at Netherdale tomorrow night (kick-off 7.30pm) if they are to keep the defence of their European Championship title alive and McCormack is confident they will make amends in Galashiels.

“We have got a good squad and we have good people watching the squad, and a result like the one at Wrexham doesn’t change that,” he declared.

“We’ve had an outstanding record these last few years so we know what we have got, and you have to face the defeats as you face the victories. So we will keep the same personnel although we might tinker about with the side.”

McCormack is expected to name uncapped Gala RFC players Craig Robertson and Lewis Clarke in an unchanged squad. Neither played in Wales on Friday with young half-back Clarke not selected and Robertson missing out through injury.

After an early try by Dale Ferguson, Scotland were well-beaten by an impressive Welsh side smarting from three straight defeats in last year’s tournament, but responded well late in the game to pull a try back two minutes from time by Oscar Thomas, the London Broncos full-back, who will join Ferguson at Bradford Bulls after the championship.

“It hurts to get beat in any game,” admitted McCormack, whose squad will go to their Peebles base tomorrow.

It will be the second successive year that Scotland have taken an international to the Borders, having played France at Gala RFC last autumn, an extraordinary game in which Scotland made a thrilling late comeback to keep their title hopes alive.

“The Borders rugby supporters were fantastic last year and a lot of new people came to watch our code,” says McCormack, who has coached Scotland since 2004.

“As the game went on they started understanding it a bit more, and really got behind us.

“We couldn’t thank the people of Galashiels and the Borders enough last year, and I’m sure it will be the same this year,” he added.