Scotland to field youngest ever side against France

Scotland are set to name their youngest ever side at senior level, when they face France in Avignon on Saturday.

With a raft of withdrawals due to injury, coach Steve McCormack has been compelled to dig deep into Scotland‘s pool of players.

The latest addition to the squad is 24-year-old back rower Gavin Grant from Coventry Bears, an Aberdonian by birth. Although he will  be one of the oldest players in the team in terms of years, he is still to win his first cap for Scotland.

“Gavin Grant is the type of character we want,” said Scotland team manager Mark Richardson.

“He only got the call on Tuesday night when we lost Johnny and he was able to get his things together and travel up from Berkshire where he lives to train with us on Wednesday afternoon. It will be a great experience for him.”

The average age for the squad is 22, and two other newcomers join Grant in the squad in the shape of Sam Brookes and Finlay Hutchison.

Hutchison has been called up from amateur side Edinburgh Eagles.

Brookes, who plays for Whitehaven in the Championship, has worked with McCormack before, in the youth system at Wigan, where McCormack also works as a coach.

“Sam is a good kid and has had a couple of seasons of Championship rugby behind him now,” said McCormack.

“He can play at loose forward, which allows us to move Danny Addy into the halves at any stage should we want to.

“This is all about the long-term good for Scotland Rugby League.Ten of the 18 players have come through our pathway from the Under-18s, 19s or Students.

“We’re developing these players for the future. We will have a really young side in France.

“We would prefer to have had a bit more experience but it’s been brilliant to see these young players come through from the Under-19s and I’m proud of how they’ve handled themselves.

“This tournament was crying out for us to give opportunities to young lads as it’s the only year we can do it – we can’t do it against England, Australia and New Zealand next year and we can’t do it in the 2017 World Cup.

“So we made a conscious decision to increase our player pool this year and the young players have really stepped up.”

SCOTLAND SQUAD:

Danny Addy (Bradford Bulls),  Sam Brookes (Whitehaven), Harvey Burnett (unattached), Lewis Clarke (Edinburgh Eagles), Sonny Esslemont (Hull KR), Dale Ferguson (Bradford Bulls), Gavin Grant (Coventry Bears), Richard Harris (Warrington Wolves), Liam Hood (Salford Red Devils), Finlay Hutchison (Edinburgh Eagles), Ben Kavanagh (Widnes Vikings), Corbyn Kilday (Central Queensland Capras), Joe McClean (Gloucs All Golds), Scott Plumridge (Edinburgh Eagles), David Scott (Doncaster), Oscar Thomas (London Broncos), Shane Toal (Barrow), Alex Walker (London Broncos).

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