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Page last updated at 11:17 GMT, Wednesday, 22 October 2008 12:17 UK

Andrew Henderson column

Andrew Henderson

By Andrew Henderson
Scotland hooker

From the moment we stepped off the plane, the media interest in this Scotland squad has been huge.

Having the three Henderson brothers has obviously helped attract a lot of attention to the team, but I was amazed to see all the cameras and newspaper reporters waiting to see 24 jet-lagged athletes step off the flight.

The weather has been awesome, but adjusting from Castleford to Canberra has been tough! The hardest part of our preparation has been getting our bodies used to the time zone - and the Aussie sun.

I told him (Iain Morrison) he might be better off staying out of the sun for a bit unless he wanted to play the first game looking like Pink Panther

We arrived on Thursday and were straight into training on the Friday. That was really tough, but our first hit-out was terrific, really physical. We just hit the floor and hit each other!

Some of the boys have struggled with the heat here more than others. Iain Morrison seems to think he is tanning like an Adonis. He doesn't see much sun in Widnes and has English rose-white skin. But for some ridiculous reason he's been lounging at the hotel pool all afternoon after training, trying to tan himself up.

I was doing some weights with my brother when Morrison swaggered in. His back was bright red! We were in hysterics. He said he needed some more cream on his back.

I told him he might be better off staying out of the sun for a bit unless he wanted to play the first game looking like Pink Panther. But he was adamant it was going brown and he will be a hit with the ladies. I'm confident he will be blistering very soon.

Iain's very animated, though, and a great lad. Danny Brough is, too. They're the big two characters in this Scotland squad and they make sure everyone's morale is sky high.

I don't think we've spoken much to any of the England or Ireland players, although I've been chatting to my old Castleford team-mate Michael Platt, who is with Ireland. He was telling me how much he is looking forward to it and how excited he and the Irish are.


We've been mostly training and relaxing since we got here, but we did get a night out on Tuesday. We all got our legs out and kilts on for a function at the Canberra Stadium.

Sean Hodgman won our 'Piper Idol'
Sean Hodgman won our 'Piper Idol'

The France players were there, too, so I don't know how intimidated they'd have been seeing their first opponents kitted out in kilts, but I reckon we all looked the business. It was a top evening, too.

We then went off to The Burns Club, a huge Scottish club here in Canberra. The night included the Pipe Idol 2008 contest - think Pop Idol but with bagpipes.

Local pipers challenged each other while the staff and players played the Simon Cowell role as judges. The lad who won now leads the Scotland team out against France, so this was great to embrace the locals and a really nice touch.

The France game is as tough as it gets. They have a dozen Catalan players to call on while their domestic game has improved. They have a quality coach and it's gonna be a tough proposition, but we have a lot of experience in our side and are quietly confident we can cause an upset.

The pressure is all on France - they should walk this group. The average rugby league pundit hasn't given us a chance in hell, which suits us just fine.

I just want the tournament to start now... the team is buzzing and we are ready to roll against the French

I still don't know whether it will be me or my brother Ian playing at hooker against France. We have four hookers in the 24 and they're all good. Worryingly for me, though, Ian's been playing at nine in every training session.

He'll probably get the nod over me which I will have to deal with, but there's a chance I could be in. It depends what the coach thinks is best. I think my experience and versatility may grab me a spot but it's the gaffer's call.

Either way, I just want the tournament to start now. The team is buzzing and we are ready to roll against the French.

* Andrew Henderson was talking to BBC Sport's George Riley.

Andrew will be filing regular reports from Australia throughout the tournament, which kicks off on Saturday, 25 October.

see also
Andrew Henderson column
17 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Scots hope for World Cup progress
14 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Logan back in Scotland cup squad
08 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
World Cup relief for Calderwood
07 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Calderwood receives England call
29 Sep 08 |  Rugby League
Henderson trio in Scots cup squad
29 Aug 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup 2008 fixtures
08 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup squads
14 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Rugby League World Cup on the BBC
06 Oct 08 |  Rugby League
Jon Wilkin column
04 Oct 08 |  Rugby League


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