x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Jackson: 'Home' advantage can aid us

The Scotland coach Steve McCormack is pinning his side's hopes on a crop of reinforcements from Australia's National Rugby League as his side open their campaign against France.

The Scotland coach Steve McCormack is pinning his side's hopes on a crop of reinforcements from Australia's National Rugby League as his side open their campaign against France today. The Scots lost 46-16 when the teams last met in Perpignan 12 months ago, but they are boosted by the presence of captain Danny Brough, who was rested for that friendly international, and a wealth of experience from the host nation.

Winger or full-back Michael Robertson, and forwards Scott Logan (Canberra), Ian Henderson (New Zealand Warriors) and Chris Armit (Canterbury) all qualify through Scottish parents or grandparents. McCormack's men will still start as underdogs in Canberra, but the long-serving prop Paul Jackson believes the injection of new blood will provide a timely boost. "In the past we've been pretty short of front-rowers and me and Oli [Wilkes] have had to play long minutes so it will be good for us to have some extra props, especially some with NRL experience," he said.

"It's going to be really tough but we are all pretty upbeat. Everybody is up for it. "We've been training pretty hard and the team spirit is brilliant. We've had an opposed session against a local side and that went really well." France are without the Catalans Dragons winger Dimitri Pelo, who has failed to recover from a hamstring injury, but coach John Monie has called on nine of his Dragons teammates, including Jerome Guisset, a former Canberra player.

"The pitch looks as good as it was when I was here and I'm really looking forward to the game," he said. * PA Sport