Scots’ commitment to cause inspires Douglas

Scotland prop Luke Douglas has paid tribute to the semi-professional players in the Bravehearts Four Nations squad.

Players like the Phillips brothers, Callum and Brett, from Workington Town, were both in the 19-man squad for the game.

Callum Phillips made his Four Nations debut from the bench against England at the weekend, collecting a cracker of bruise to his eyebrow in the process, and Douglas feels that the spirit shown by players like that from the game’s lower tiers is inspirational.

“It’s a mixture of professionals and semi-professionals, who all come together to make a good squad,” Douglas told Love Rugby League.

“Those boys work during the week, train in the afternoons and do their best to back up each week, and deal with the stress of work and still be able to play.

“It was good to see Calum get a shot, and he made the most of it.

“He came on and did his job. It was hard to handle the big guys, but he did as good as he could.

“A few of those part-time players really stood up.”

The Bravehearts lost 38 – 12 at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena on Saturday, but led 8-0 after the game’s first quarter, and scored three fine tries.

Douglas was disappointed that the Engish forwards had been allowed to generate momentum as the game went on.

“It was good. We started off strong and were up 8-0 at one stage,” he added.

“It was a great start but we just couldn’t finish it off.

“In the second half there were a few errors, and we were not controlling the ball.

“They brought their big men on and played through the middle, and we just couldn’t handle them at times.

“We did a lot of hard work in that first half, and to let them sneak through us and put on a bit of a tally is disappointing.”

Douglas felt that England stuck to a very simple game plan, which the Scots handled fairly well for most of the game.

“To a certain extent we did,” he said.

“We came off at half-time, and said that the only way they were getting us was scoot, scoot and one of the outside backs getting a break at the start of the set.

“Then one of the their big boys would come on the back of that and find their front.

“It was causing a little bit of damage, and as soon as we lost a few points, they were on the front foot and making easy metres, which hurt.”

Many observers felt that the yellow card Danny Brough received just around the hour mark was a little harsh.

Going down to 12-men undoubtedly hampered the Scots at a crucial time in the game, and Douglas felt that the boys in dark blue received few favours from the match officials.

“It did sort of seem like the 50-50s were going their way,” he said.

“Every time they went upstairs they were looking for reasons to disallow our tries.

“Full credit to England, they were pretty good in the middle, they rolled through us and got the job done.

“Which is unfortunate for us, but good for them.”

Douglas, who will be playing for St Helens in 2017, also felt that the Scotland team answered some questions about whether or not they deserved their place in the Four Nations.

“We were disappointed against Australia with the way we defended,” he said.

“We deserve a bit of respect. We won the European Championships to get into the tournament.

“A lot of people didn’t think we deserved to be in here, that Samoa or the likes should have been here.

“We qualified without a lot of the guys – I was trying to come over [for the European Championship 2014] but I was suspended at the time, so I wasn’t allowed to give them a hand.

“We deserved our shot, and it was a matter of trying to earn that respect back, and make our country of heritage and our families proud.”

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