A couple of New Zealand-born players will be at the forefront for Scotland this Saturday night as they look to take down the Kiwis in their second World Cup Pool B match in Christchurch. (Main photo: NRLPhotos).
Starting at lock for Scotland will be New Zealand born and raised James Bell, who made his NRL debut for the Warriors this season and just a year ago was representing the New Zealand Maori side.
Off the bench Auckland-born, France-based journeyman Kane Bentley will serve as the Bravehearts’ dummy-half replacement.
Saturday’s clash will be the second time 30-year-old Bentley has faced New Zealand on the rugby league field, having represented France against the Kiwis at the 2009 Four Nations tournament.
“Excited, very excited. To face New Zealand again, it’s another honour,” said Bentley, whose older brother Andrew is listed among Scotland’s extended bench this week.
“Representing Scotland and doing it against New Zealand, what more could I ask for?
“It’s been awesome getting this experience.”
In a 50-4 crushing at the hands of Tonga last week, Bell was among Scotland’s best, with the Papakura Sea Eagles’ junior clocking the second highest tackle count with 33 in just 46 minutes on the park.
For Bentley, who has lived in France since he was five, speaks fluent French and has made a life for himself in the country’s south where he plays for Toulouse in the English second-tier, the Christchurch encounter is also a long overdue homecoming.
“I have got a lot of family coming. My mum alone has asked for 32 tickets, so some are coming down from Auckland to watch us and I have an uncle that lives here in Christchurch as well,” Bentley said.
“I haven’t been back in New Zealand since 2008, so nine years away now. Mum and dad are coming to the game, they have flown over from France to watch us play, so it’s going to be cool.”