Scotland Rugby League have won the European Championship for the first time after an extraordinary afternoon in Wrexham.
Ireland needed to win the game by 40 points to lift the title on points percentage. When Ireland led 28-0 at half-time, Scotland feared the worst and two late tries put them 46-10 up and needing one more try. As they pressed the line, a dropped pass gave Tom Hughes the opportunity race 100 metres to score for Wales and hand Scotland the title as the game finished 14-46.
It is Scotland’s first championship in 20 years of senior international rugby league and builds on their quarter-final appearance in the 2013 World Cup. The title qualifies the Bravehearts for the 2016 Four Nations against England, Australia and New Zealand, with at least one game expected to be staged north of the border. “It’s a remarkable achievement and all credit to all the players and staff,” said McCormack, who spent the day with his family rather than going to Wrexham to suffer the 80 minutes. “Dave Rotheram and I have been working at this for ten years, John Duffy has been here even longer, Danny Brough had been here ten years, so have some of the backroom staff.
“This is a reward for that commitment, giving up their spare time and holidays to help Scotland Rugby League. We’ve worked hard and with some quality and a huge amount of desire, we’ve won a trophy at last. No-one expected that but we deserve it.”
l Having missed the chance to win the title on Friday night when they lost to France at Gala, Scotland coach Steve McCormack and the squad will receive the trophy on Thursday at the Rugby Football League headquarters in Leeds.