Brierley and McConnachie come in for Scotland

Scotland coach Steve McCormack has made two changes to his 19-man squad for the Four Nations clash with New Zealand on Friday night with Ryan Brierley and Billy McConnachie coming in.

The pair, who both made their Test debuts in the defeat to Australia in the tournament opener, replace hooker Callum Phillips and Widnes forward Sam Brooks

Huddersfield’s Brierley has fully recovered from the ankle sprain that ruled him out of training during the build-up to the England clash, while McConnachie of Ipswich Jets gets another opportunity after impressing in training this week in Preston.

Workington Town youngster Phillips will be disappointed to miss out on his home ground, but older brother Brett is in the 19 and hoping to make his Four Nations bow on his club ground.

Kane Linnett, scorer of Scotland’s opening try against England last Saturday, has recovered from an ankle injury and Scotland coach Steve McCormack is thrilled to have the world-class centre in his ranks.

“I thought Kane was a big player for us against both Australia and England,” McCormack said.

“He is a quiet achiever in this team and if you speak to anybody at North Queensland Cowboys, they will tell you how good he is.

“They have got some world class players in that team and Kane is one of them. I think every time he has played for us, whether it be in the World Cup or Four Nations, he has been great.

“I like the way he goes about his business because he works hard and keeps his head down and he is world class for me.”

Linnett was born and bred in New South Wales but is eligible to play for the Bravehearts through his mother, who spent her early childhood in Cambuslang, and made his debut three years ago.

“I love playing for Scotland,” he said.

“I look forward to at the end of the year. I’m very proud to wear the Scotland jersey.

“My mum was born in Glasgow and she moved over to Australia when she was around eight-years-old. I have Scottish relatives back home in Australia who all get up early to watch me play for Scotland

“I still have family in Scotland and they all watch me, too. I’ve had a chance to catch up with a few aunties and uncles in Scotland since I’ve been over and it’s been good to see them.”

Linnett and Scotland fullback Lachlan Coote will be up against their North Queensland Cowboys teammate and 2015 Dally M winner Jason Taumalolo on Friday night, when the freezing cold and wet conditions at Workington will be vastly different to tropical Townsville.

“Jason had a very good year at the Cowboys and is a big boy,” Linnett said.

“He is very strong and our middles are going to have their work cut out to try and stop him.

“Hopefully we can get in the face of him this weekend and cut him down before he gets too much ball.

“He is difficult to tackle but not just because he is so big – he has got good footwork for a forward, too. He also gets in-between defenders and causes problems.

Martin Taupau has also played some good footy this year as well so we need to make sure we cut their forwards down because if we don’t, players like Shaun Johnson and Shaun Kenny-Dowall will jump on the back of it.”

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