Brough out for Scotland

Scotland will attempt to avoid the wooden spoon without Huddersfield Giants star Danny Brough when they play Ireland in Dublin on Sunday.

Scotland coach Steve McCormack has made three changes to his 20-man squad for Sunday’s final game in the Alitalia European Cup, leaving out Brough, injured winger Jon Steel and veteran full-back Jamie Benn.

There will be at least one debutant in the Scotland 17 on Sunday as four players in the squad are uncapped: the Edinburgh Eagles duo of second-rower Craig Borthwick and hooker Giles Lomax, Coventry Bears utility man Brad Massey and Workington’s Brett Carter will all hope to become full internationals.

Hooker Andrew Henderson would extend his caps record to 16 if selected, with prop Neil Lowe just two behind. Scotland will be hoping to end a record of six straight defeats against the Irish, having lost seven of their nine encounters. However, that gives little indication of how Sunday will go as the two nations have not met since 2005.

With Scotland having been thrashed by Wales before putting in a valiant display against France, and Ireland following a hammering in France with a desperately unfortunate 31-30 defeat in Wales last weekend, the game between the group’s bottom two should be extremely tough to call.

“I wasn’t at all surprised that last week’s games were so close,” said coach McCormack. “We both needed to do ourselves justice after such heavy defeats on the opening weekend – those results were misleading as I think all four teams in the European Cup are pretty well-matched. Ireland will be just as keen as us not to finish bottom but I see this as a great opportunity for our players: there will be some old heads wanting to go out on a high and some young lads are going to get their first opportunity to pull on that Scotland shirt. It will be a proud day and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Scotland: Dave Arnot (London), Sam Barlow (Halifax), Craig Borthwick (Edinburgh), Brett Carter, Paddy Coupar (both Workington), Dale Ferguson (Wakefield), Ben Fisher (Hull KR), Andrew Henderson (Sheffield), Kevin Henderson (Wakefield), Jack Howieson, Brendan Lindsay (both Sheffield), Giles Lomax (Edinburgh), Neil Lowe (Hunslet), Rob Lunt (Doncaster), Brad Massey (Coventry), Lee Paterson (Carpentras), Mitch Stringer, Alex Szostak (both Sheffield), Joe Wardle (Huddersfield), Oliver Wilkes (Harlequins)

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