Steve McCormack, the Scotland coach, has said that he is ready to play Alex Walker, the London Broncos fullback, in the upcoming game against New Zealand.
It will be Walker’s first game in the World Cup and he may be one of a number of changes planned by McCormack for the game on Saturday following the team’s disappointing 50-4 defeat by Tonga in their opening Group B match.
Scotland are missing the injured Lachlan Coote and they began their campaign without David Scott after he injured his back in a warm-up match against a New South Wales Country U23 team.
Lewis Tierney was wearing the No 1 jersey against the Tongans but he may be moved to the wing to make space for Walker, who made his Scotland debut in the 2015 European Championship.
Speaking this week McCormack said, “I thought Lewis Tierney was one of the standout players on the field to be fair. He was outstanding but Alex Walker has been great for London and I’ve been really impressed by his attitude throughout the World Cup so far and he deserves a chance. I’m looking forward to seeing how Alex performs on the world stage. He’s an emerging talent and deserves a crack.”
McCormack will also be giving debuts to 20-year old Brandan Wilkinson, a centre at Bradford, and Sydney Roosters second rower Jarred Anderson.
“I’ve named 21 and that squad might be rotated,” McCormack said. “People like Brandan Wilkinson and Jarred Anderson have earned the call by the way they’ve trained. I’m more than comfortable putting them in.”
McCormack said that while it is a “very young” team, the players have “trained really well” and “earned their right to play” in the World Cup.
“To play New Zealand in Christchurch will be a fantastic experience for them. It’s important they step up as well. Test matches in New Zealand are no place for the faint-hearted.”