Brough ready to spark Scots at World Cup

Oct 27, 2017 - 6:00 PM The biggest name in a depleted Scotland Rugby League World Cup squad is Danny Brough - and even he didn't want to play for the Bravehearts not that long ago.

But the veteran halfback says he regrets switching allegiances to England briefly and is primed for another giant killing run by Scotland ahead of their Cup opener against tournament dark horses Tonga in Cairns on Sunday.

Without injured NRL stars Peter Wallace, Lachlan Coote and Kane Linnett, Brough will be his side's shining light, when he skippers a no name Bravehearts expected to be cannon fodder in their Cup group also featuring New Zealand and another Pacific powerhouse in Samoa.

But there was a time when Scotland couldn't even count on Brough's loyalty.

Talked into switching allegiances by then England coach Steve McNamara after skippering Scotland at the 2008 Cup, Yorkshire-born Brough appeared set to become the Poms' long-term No.7 when he ran out for his home country and impressed against the Exiles in a 2012 non-cap clash.

He never played for England again.

Frustrated with mixed signals from McNamara, Brough quickly changed his allegiance back ahead of the 2013 World Cup to help the Bravehearts snatch a shock quarterfinal berth.

Brough, 34, would be forgiven for being tempted to consider another switch after Scotland coach Steve McCormack picked a raw squad with seven new faces for the 2017 tournament.

But Huddersfield playmaker Brough is backing himself to again make rivals sit up and take notice, starting with their opener against a star-studded Tonga at Barlow Park.

"I am real honoured Steve took me back after playing for England," Brough said.

"I regret what happened in the past.

"There were some persuasive people along the way but obviously it didn't work out.

"It was probably my fault trying to move over in the first place but that's gone now.

"I am the Scotland captain and it is something I pride myself on."

On paper Scotland may be world No.4 but they look completely outclassed in their group featuring 2008 Cup champions New Zealand, Samoa, and a Tongan outfit boosted by the controversial addition of Kiwi Jason Taumalolo and Australia's Andrew Fifita.

However, the Bravehearts are used to turning the form guide on its head.

The last time they met, Brough inspired Scotland's boilover 26-24 Cup win over Tonga in 2013.

They also drew with New Zealand 18-18 in their Four Nations debut last year.

"It will be tough with the amount of young lads that we have got but being the underdogs is quite pleasing for us," Brough said.

"We are used to it at this stage. We look forward to getting a win and aiming for that quarter-final."

Source: AAP

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