Scot­land head coach McCor­mack ad­mits he would be de­lighted to se­cure Locke’s ser­vices

The Herald - Sport - - RUGBY LEAGUE - KEVIN FER­RIE

THE head coach of Scot­land’s rugby league team has wel­come the news that Kevin Locke, one of the New Zealan­ders who ended his side’s heroic bid at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, has in­di­cated that he may switch sides in time for the next tour­na­ment.

Steve McCor­mack made it clear, how­ever, that the 25-year-old will have to make his com­mit­ment to the cause clear be­fore he will be con­sid­ered.

“We ac­tu­ally spoke about Kevin prior to the 2013 cam­paign be­cause we knew he was el­i­gi­ble but we also knew he was likely to be picked for New Zealand,” said McCor­mack. “Our chair­man Keith Hogg and I both spoke to him after they beat us in the quar­ter­fi­nal at Head­in­g­ley and I’ve now read some com­ments from Kevin sug­gest­ing he may be in­ter­ested in play­ing for Scot­land which is good to see.”

Locke made the last of eight Test ap­pear­ances in the World Cup fi­nal at Old Traf­ford. But he was ef­fec­tively squeezed out of their do­mes­tic game last year when his Auck­land-based NRL club side the New Zealand War­riors re­cruited English full-back Sam Tomkins, forc­ing him to move the other way in a lu­cra­tive deal to join Sal­ford Reds. He re­vealed when he moved that Scot­land’s two pro­fes­sional rugby union clubs had ap­proached him say­ing: “I got a few union of­fers in Scot­land around the same time as here, from Ed­in­burgh and Glas­gow, but I wanted to stay in league. I didn’t want to switch.”

How­ever it seems he was talk­ing about codes rather than na­tion­al­ity hav­ing ad­mit­ted to the spe­cial­ist mag­a­zine League Ex­press this week that while he would like to play for New Zealand again he be­lieves his move to Su­per League has prob­a­bly ruled him and he is con­se­quently weigh­ing up op­tions.

“I qual­ify for Scot­land through my fa­ther and after I played against them for in the World Cup quar­ter­fi­nal one of the Scot­land coaches men­tioned to me that I should play for them in fu­ture, so you never know,” he told them. While Scot­land re­lied heav­ily on English and Aus­tralian born play­ers at that tour­na­ment they have avoided se­lect­ing play­ers who have been capped at full Test level by another coun­try, but do­ing so is within rugby league’s rules so McCor­mack’s main con­cern is main­tain­ing squad morale.

“We’ve changed the way peo­ple look at us in the last few years and we’ve now got a lot of in­ter­est from Su­per League and NRL play­ers who want to play Test rugby,” he said, not­ing that Keith Gal­loway, the Wests Tigers prop who has played for Aus­tralia and Banff­born New­cas­tle Knights winger James McManus, are al­ready in the frame.

“How­ever we got the bal­ance right for the last World Cup and we need ev­ery player who plays for Scot­land to know they are do­ing it for the right rea­son.”

POSER: Steve McCor­mack chal­lenged Kevin Locke to prove his worth to the team

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