Duffy ready for Scots’ Four Nations adventure

Swinton coach John Duffy is a well-established part of the Scotland coaching set-up, having assisted main man Steve McCormack since the 2013 World Cup campaign.

The former Warrington, Widnes, Salford, Chorley, Whitehaven and Leigh pivot won six caps for Scotland during his career.

Now he is relishing the chance of taking on the best in the world during the Four Nations tournament which takes place in the autumn.

Scotland have a challenging series of games, facing Australia at Hull KR‘s Lightstream Stadium, England at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena and New Zealand in Workington.

The squad gathered for a meeting in Preston at UCLAN earlier this week, with Australian-based players in touch via video link.

Duffy is feeling very optimisitic that the Scottish squad can produce some pride-inducing performances.

“It’s looking fantastic,” he told Love Rugby League.

“Steve McCormack has been preparing for a long time. He’s been first class, as always.

“I’m really excited, to be honest, to be part of a Four Nations with Scotland, which is a small country in rugby league terms, and it’s something I’m really proud to be part of.”

With some of the Scottish squad being drawn from the ranks of NRL players, such as Lachlan Coote, Duffy is relishing the chance to work with some of the world’s top stars.

“It’s unbelievable for me, I’ll be picking their brains,” he said.

“They’ll be sick of me after four weeks!

“But it’s fantastic for a coach to have that kind of calibre of player coming in.

“You get to see what goes on at clubs as well, and the NRL is the best league in the world.”

Duffy qualified for Scotland through his Glaswegian father, whose origins lie in the East End of Glasgow, close to the home of Celtic FC.

The prospect of facing England is something which stirs Duffy’s Caledonian blood, as he is yet to experience the full-on intensity of a Scotland versus England clash.

“I wish I had played in one!” he said.

“We’re really looking forward to that.

“We’ll be playing against the best in the world in the Four Nations, week-in and week-out.

“If we approach it in the right way and look forward it then we’ll see how we go against them.

“We’ve got a really good squad. Steve’s done a fantastic job with Dave Rotheram, keeping th lads together year-in and year-out.

“The boys really buy into in when they come into camp, and we’ve got a really good team spirit.

“That’s what we’ll be taking into the Four Nations.”

Part of Duffy’s work with Scotland involves development coaching in Scotland with the student and younger age grades.

He has been impressed with the quality and potential of some of the young Scottish athletes with whom he has worked.

“I’ve been involved for a number of years now with the pathway stuff,” he said.

“I only recently moved up to the senior squad with Steve asking me to come on board.

“There’s some fantastic talent. The coaches up there are doing a great job, like Nathan Graham with the students, and Mark Senter.

“They’ve got a great pathway that they’re coming through on now, the kids.

“There’s some that Steve blooded with the first team last year, and they had a really good experience with the team, and they can only get better.

“I know they picked up a good result in the student Four Nations a few weeks ago.

“Things are looking really good, for a country which gets no budget.

“It’s really good to see some players I coached a few years ago come through.”

One part of developing rugby league talent in Scotland is to tap into the rugby union-playing population, especially in rugby heartlands like the Borders.

Duffy believes that the relationship between the two codes is positive North of the Border, and can help both games develop.

“They have a good relationship through our chairman Keith Hogg, whose son is involved in rugby union,” he explained.

“I know that when we’ve been doing trials up in Edinburgh and Glasgow, a number of rugby union players came down.

“It’s healthy, and the more we can work together the better it is for both sports.”

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