Edinburgh Eagles ready to bring Braveheart passion to Challenge Cup
20 January 2019 - Written by Zack Wilson
Scottish side Edinburgh Eagles are enjoying some positive preparations for their forthcoming first round Challenge Cup tie away at Normanton Knights.
Club chairman Barry McGuffog is pleased with the way training has been going, despite some understandable rustiness from the players.
“Yeah, we’re looking ok,” he told Everything Rugby League.
“We were a bit rusty to start with but things are coming together now so should be ready to go against Normanton. “
The Eagles’ line-up will feature two players with Scottish international caps to their names.
Unlike Irish side Longhorns, though, who face Lock Lane in the first round, they have not been able to call on the services of any ex-professionals to boost their ranks.
“We’ll have two of those who played for Scotland in the European Championship, Lewis Clarke and player-coach Craig Robertson,” said McGuffod.
“We’ll also have Terry Logan who was in the initial train-on squad for the competition. The others are unavailable.
“We’ve had a couple of lads with a bit of experience join us as they’ve moved to the area during the off-season but unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of being able to bring in ex-pros.”
The Eagles are unquestionably the underdogs for the tie, as they are facing a team with a history that dates back to 1879, which finished 10th in the National Conference League last season.
McGuffog anticipates a tough and physically challenging test for his players, but they will view it as an opportunity to prove themselves against a heartlands team.
“Normanton are one of the top 20 amateur rugby league teams in the country so we’re expecting a tough, physical game,” he said.
“It’ll probably be a step up in terms of intensity and physicality for some of our lads but it’s an opportunity to test ourselves.
“We’ll certainly go in to the game as underdogs, however the likelihood is that we’re a bit of an unknown quantity to them so it’d be easy to underestimate us.
“Obviously we’re going there looking to give a good account of ourselves and we’re hopeful of pulling off what would in reality be considered a surprise win, but the lads are representing rugby league in Scotland, not just Edinburgh Eagles so there’s a little bit of national pride involved too.
“It’s a cliché but at the end of the day, it’s cup rugby and anything can happen so fingers crossed.”
Nothing fires up Scottish athletes more than being underrated and given no chance. The Eagles will certainly be up to cause a shock in Yorkshire.