Scotland’s international side has been moving backwards since 2016 according to the nation’s former captain Andrew Henderson.
Nathan Graham’s side find themselves in a tough group with Australia, Fiji and Italy at the World Cup. The Bravehearts kick off their campaign against Italy in Newcastle on October 16.
Henderson joined Love Rugby League on the latest weekly podcast – out every Wednesday from all major podcast providers.
And the Keighley Cougars director of rugby, Scotland’s second highest appearance maker of all-time, gave a frank assessment of Scotland’s international rugby league health.
“It is disappointing for me to say but I think Scotland Rugby League has regressed since the golden era of 2013-16,” Henderson said.
“I was fortunate to be part of that group that got its first ever World Cup win in 2008. We went unbeaten in the group stages in 2013, and got knocked out by New Zealand in the quarter-finals. The core of that group then secured that first Four Nations point in 2016.”
Andrew Henderson wants Scotland to rise again
That 2016 result at Derwent Park in Workington was arguably Scotland’s finest moment in international rugby league. On a bitterly cold evening under torrential downpours, Steve McCormack’s squad fought back against the might of New Zealand and Danny Brough secured a stunning draw with a touchline conversion on the hooter.
The moment sparked jubilant scenes amongst Scotland players, coaching staff and the fans packed inside the ground in Cumbria.
Henderson was commentating on that match in appalling conditions. He feels the comparisons between that squad of players with what is available now is concerning.
“I’m not sure they have the quality of depth available now to take them to those heights again,” he added.
“When you look at the northern hemisphere it is glaringly obvious that we need to expose players to more international fixtures.”
Henderson was speaking from the Combined Nations All Stars camp ahead of their international against England at Warrington on Saturday.