Edinburgh Eagles will be representing Scotland in this year’s Challenge Cup competition.
The side host NCL Premier Division’s York Acorn in the first round of the cup this Saturday, with a 1:30pm kick-off.
Club president Barry McGuffog says his side are looking forward to the challenge against a tough opposition, but it will be a game of 17 against 17 on the day.
McGuffog also revealed how the club’s connection with the British Army should help them with their squad in 2022.
Edinburgh Eagles hoping to do Scotland proud
“We’re obviously excited, especially being Scotland’s only representative,” said McGuffog.
“There’s less numbers this year, so it’s a massive thing for us to be a part of the cup.
“What you’ll see in tomorrow’s line-up is that we have a strong Fijian contingent with the army based up here.
“We tend to attract some of the military lads, students and a lot of lads come from a union background as well.
“Preparations have been difficult with Covid hitting training and things like that and causing reduced numbers.
“A lot of lads don’t know what to expect. We’re probably fielding a team with around 90% who have never played in it before. It’s a massive competition.”
On his side’s opposition, he continued: “York are an NCL Premiership team. It’s going to be a test.
“With the number of clubs involved decreased, there was always a high chance of drawing a strong quality opposition. At the end of day, they’re probably going in it as favourites and we’ll be underdogs.
“The likelihood is that they’ve also been hit by covid as well. It’s about 17 against 17 on the day.”
One eye on attracting World Cup support says McGuffog
Edinburgh Eagles have progressed over the last few years, having formed in 1998. The club currently compete in the Scottish National League, where they have claimed the title on 11 occasions.
They have also won the Scottish Cup twice.
And McGuffog believes tomorrow is an opportunity for his side to showcase their talent, while also helping promote the game with the upcoming Rugby League World Cup later this year.
“We always tell lads to go out and enjoy it and the experience,” added McGuffog
“For us, it’s going to be a test. The opportunity to play at home is an excellent opportunity for us.
“Without blowing our trumpet too much, we probably do set the standard in Scotland. I think we’re something clubs aim at.
“Forth Valley Vikings set up during the pandemic. Kris did a great job there and Glasgow set up just before the pandemic.
“Probably the biggest game in the World Cup this year is Scotland v Fiji for us as a club.
“With Scotland playing games at Newcastle, it’s an excellent opportunity for Scottish supporters to get down.
“We want to try and help stick the game on the map a little bit tomorrow, and that would be massively boosted with a few rounds in the cup which hopefully can help promote the sport a little bit.”