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Scots braced for stern Kiwi test

Super League Man of Steel Danny Brough is bracing himself for the biggest test of his career as he prepares to lead minnows Scotland into battle against world champions New Zealand.
Scots braced for stern Kiwi test
by AAP

By Ian Laybourn

LEEDS, Nov 15 PA - Super League Man of Steel Danny Brough is bracing himself for the biggest test of his career as he prepares to lead minnows Scotland into battle against world champions New Zealand.

The Bravehearts are one of only three unbeaten teams in the last eight of the Rugby League World Cup but they will go into Friday night's first quarter-final at Headingley as one of three 500-1 outsiders to win the trophy.

France, who take on England at Wigan on Saturday night, and the USA Tomahawks, who face arguably the biggest challenge against tournament favourites Australia, have also been written off by the bookmakers.

Talented five-eighth Brough might grumble about the 44-point start his side have been offered on the handicap coupon but he accepts they are among the biggest outsiders the sport has ever seen.

"It's probably the toughest test I've ever had in a rugby league shirt, I would have thought," he said. "I've never played against the best in the world and it's something I'm looking forward to.

"We're massive underdogs. Nobody expects us to do anything so we're just going to go out and enjoy the night and hopefully there will be an upset along the way.

"They've a lot more quality players but anything can happen. We've got a lot of unknown quantities and we might be able to throw in a few trick shots.

"We're not here to make the numbers up. We're expected to get beat but it's about being respected as well and hopefully we can put in a performance where, if we do get beat, we don't get smashed."

New Zealand have moved largely untroubled into the knockout stages but captain Simon Mannering is expecting Scotland to provide his side with their first major test.

"They've played great all tournament," he said. "They weren't given much of a chance at the start but I think they've shown they're a quality side.

"They're steered around by some good halves. It will be great challenge for us, our toughest game yet.

"I think we've improved throughout the tournament and it's important we continue to do so. Obviously there is a lot more on the line now because it's a knockout game so we've got to be pretty close to our best. We know Scotland will be."


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