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Scotland could find ace in the pack at London Broncos
Scotland might be able to call upon newly-crowned Man of Steel Danny Brough for the Rugby League World Cup, but assistant coach Dave Rotheram believes London Broncos hooker Ben Fisher could be their secret weapon.
As the globe’s finest players descend on the England, Wales, Ireland and France this month for the World Cup, Scotland potentially have one of the stars of the show in Huddersfield Giants captain Brough.
But, while Brough led Huddersfield to the top of the Super League before they lost in the play-off semi-finals, it is Fisher – who spent the majority of the season at the opposite end of the table with the Broncos – on Rotheram’s radar.
The hooker doubled up his playing duties with the role of assistant coach at the Stoop this season, following his arrival from Catalan Dragons, but it did not stop him contributing on the pitch as he featured 24 times.
And Rotheram believes the 32-year-old’s dual role is what makes him so crucial to Scotland’s hopes, with his seniority set to shine through, having donned the dark blue shirt at the last World Cup in Australia in 2008.
“I was involved in the last World Cup in 2008 with Scotland, again as Steve McCormack’s assistant, but this time around it feels different on a number of levels – all positive,” said Rotheram, at the launch of the RFL’s Embed the Pathway programme, supported by Gillette.
“First of all it is the best squad that we have assembled for 10 years, for sure.
“There are some high-quality individuals that we are able to call upon.
“The obvious one is Danny who is great for us. He is a fantastic player and he is great with the other players and is the Man of Steel too so is obviously a great player.
“But it isn’t just him to watch out for; someone like Ben Fisher is a really important player for us even though he endured a very different club season to Danny.
“Although he was playing for a struggling Broncos side, Ben brings with him a lot of experience when it comes to the international game.
“And he has got a fantastic manner with the rest of the group, and when he speaks people respect him and he is important in what we want the group to achieve.”
Scotland find themselves in Group C alongside Tonga and Italy, while they also face the United States in an inter-group match as they bid to reach the World Cup knockout stages for the first time in their history.
And, with only the top of the group progressing to the quarter-finals, Rotheram knows just how important getting one over Tonga first up on October 29 will be, and how important Fisher is to that goal.
“No disrespect to Italy but I would imagine that us and Tonga are the two favourites in our group,” he added. “And with the two of us playing first up it’s a big game for us.
“We need to work hard as a group and we need to make sure we get a result otherwise it could be over before it gets going.
“The squad has come together as a group of individuals at the moment, but very quickly they need to mould together as a team and Ben and his demeanour will play an important part in that.”
Wanted: Ben Fisher (with the head band) has caught the eye of the Scottish international scene
Gillette’s partnership with the RFL and its investment in the RFL coaching programme is part of The Great Start Programme which aims to celebrate and encourage the coaches who will inspire the next generation. For more information visit facebook.co.uk/GilletteUK
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