Ex-Scotland coach Steve McCormack has backed Lachlan Coote’s inclusion in the Great Britain squad – and revealed the full-back lost money to play for the Bravehearts.
Saints No.1 Coote was this week included in Wayne Bennett’s 29-man training panel for the Lions tour in autumn, having qualified through his Scottish ancestry.
His selection was met by criticism in some quarters because he was born and raised in Australia.
But Wiganer McCormack says the 29-year-old has more than proved his commitment to Scotland and shed light on the sacrifices he made to play for the nation during the Four Nations in 2016.
“He’d just come off the back of an NRL season, his body need fixing up but he really wanted to play for Scotland and he was immensely proud to do so,” said McCormack.
“I can’t speak highly enough of him and the commitment he showed to representing Scotland. He was over here for six weeks, away from his family, and he lost money to play for us.
“It would have cost him money to play for Scotland, but he was so motivated to represent his heritage, and he did with some fantastic displays.
“He’s very proud of his ancestry and he was absolutely top class, and I’m delighted he’s been selected in this squad.”
Another Aussie – Warrington’s Blake Austin – is also in the squad, having previously been included in the England training squad because of his heritage.
McCormack, who left his role with the Warriors earlier this year for a role with the charity Rugby League Cares, coached Scotland for more than a decade before stepping down in 2017.
“I do understand the criticism of picking Australian-born players, I do – and sport is all about opinions,” he added.
“But Lachlan is eligible under the rules and as I said, he has certainly shown his commitment to Scotland.”