Matty Russell hopes Scotland can hand England a Four Nations favour tonight – but insists that won’t be in their mind.
The Bravehearts complete their tournament when they face New Zealand in Workington tonight.
I know the England lads and wish them all the best, we’ll do our job and do our best – and if it does England a favour, then so be itMatty Russell
If the Kiwis win by 30 points or less, it leaves England with the straight-forward scenario of needing to beat Australia on Sunday to reach the following week’s final at Anfield. If New Zealand rack up a bigger margin, then for-and-against would come into play – and Wayne Bennett’s men will need to win by a certain amount.
Most of the Scotland players are English, including Warriors’ Lewis Tierney – they qualify through the ancestry rule.
But Wiganer Russell insists there are no divided loyalties in the squad, and says they will be battling to be competitive for their own self-pride – and not to help England’s cause.
“I don’t know who I’d rather see in the final, New Zealand or England,” said livewire Russell.
“I know the England lads and wish them all the best, we’ll do our job and do our best – and if it does England a favour, then so be it.”
Warrington whizz Russell started his career with the Warriors in 2012 and – while a proud Wiganer – was born in Irvine, on the west coast of Scotland.
“I’m happy to play for Scotland,” he said. “I wouldn’t change it, either. My dad’s Scottish, he’s got three brothers, so all their kids are there too... I must have 15 relatives up there and they’ve been watching the tournament.”
Russell scored a stunning try against England in last Saturday’s 38-12 defeat at Coventry, and was hailed by coach Steve McCormack – another Wiganer – as the best winger on the pitch in both their two matches.
Having played against Australia and England, Russell insists victory is not out of the host nation’s reach at London Stadium on Sunday. “I think it’ll be a tight one, I do,” added the 23-year-old.
“England have a top team, they have some world-class players and it could be anyone’s. If England show up they’ll give them a good game.”
Meanwhile, he revealed Warriors wing Tierney nearly copped a £100 fine for breaking team rules... being caught wearing underwear underneath his kilt!
“He quickly whipped them off to avoid the fine,” Russell smiled.
Bennett will name his 19-man squad to face Australia later today.