St Helens full back Lachlan Coote committed to Scotland after disappointing GB tour

Lachlan Coote
Lachlan Coote

St Helens full-back Lachlan Coote has offered an explanation for his axing by Wayne Bennett on the Great Britain tour and confirmed his commitment to Scotland for the 2021 World Cup.

Coote got the nod for the number-one jersey for the Lions' opening game against Tonga in October but was withdrawn in the second half as the tourists slipped to a shock defeat and lost his spot to his Saints team-mate Jonny Lomax for the remaining three matches, which Bennett's men also lost.

"The tour didn't go as we planned," he said. "Personally I was bit disappointed how it all went but that's rugby league, that's what happens.

"My performance didn't give me any reason why I should have got picked for the New Zealand game and Jonny has been Wayne Bennett's full-back for a number of years and he's never let anyone down. And I don't think he did either on the tour.

"I hung in there and did what I had to do for the team. They were a great bunch of blokes to be around."

Coote says the fact that he is not eligible for England, with Bennett keeping one eye on the 2021 World Cup, also played a part in his non-selection, although he has no complaints about the way he was treated and appreciated the coach's honesty.

"I'm not eligible for England, my grandma is Scottish, and I think that was probably another reason," he said

"Wayne did touch on the fact that I'm not going to be part of the England squad.

"That's what I loved about Wayne. He's got a lot of respect from his players and he's got a lot of respect for his players."

The 29-year-old former North Queensland Cowboy, who was man of the match in Scotland's historic draw with New Zealand in the 2016 Four Nations Series, missed the 2017 World Cup through injury but plans to play in 2021 and is hoping to attract more big names.

Speaking before the draw which paired the Bravehearts with Australia, Fiji and Italy, Coote said: "I would love to play for Scotland again.

"We've got the 2021 World Cup coming up and it would be great to get a few more boys on board because I think if we get another team like we had in that Four Nations, I can't see any reason why we won't go good in the World Cup."

Scotland head coach Nathan Graham says the selectors will be aiming to find a balance between staying loyal to the players who helped the team qualify and strengthening the squad for the bigger challenges ahead.

"We've got the Euros coming up this year where you've got to have six home-grown players in your squad and four of them have to play in each game but there's no restriction for the World Cup," Graham said.

"If we go fishing in the NRL, it's got to be the right person because Scotland Rugby League is quite a close-knit group and organisation."

Graham and his assistant Scott Murrell, who stood in for the qualifiers, will be in charge of the European games against France, Wales and Ireland and hope to keep the job for the World Cup.