In rugby league, we don’t give the home nations as much credit as they deserve. Throughout history we’ve seen class players from the likes of Scotland and Wales take the league by the scruff of the neck. Even today, guys like James Bentley and Regan Grace are some of the stars of the league. So, today we’re giving the home nations some much needed love and giving you Super League’s greatest XIII of players from the home nations obviously excluding England.
Fullback: Iestyn Harris
The Welsh Wizard was one of the best players in the league at the start of the summer era. He was lured to Headingley for a record fee and led the Rhinos to the first ever Grand Final having won the Man of Steel. Then he helped end Leeds’ 21-year wait for Challenge Cup glory in 1999. A Wembley record holder for the points he amassed that day and a Grand Final winner at Bradford, he was simply outstanding and even guided Wales all the way to the World Cup semi-finals in 2000.
Wingers: Regan Grace and Anthony Sullivan
Grace is a special talent and has really kicked on in 2021. He scores simply impossible tries that only he could score and has a wicked sidestep capable of unlocking any defence. An elusive yet strong runner, the Welshman is always a joy to watch as was Anthony Sullivan. Also, a Super League Champion with Saints, he scored tries for fun racking up over 200 in a St Helens shirt as well as six in 18 appearances for Wales and three in seven Great Britain caps.
Centres: Scott Gibbs and Michael Eagar
Onto another superb Saint, Scott Gibbs oozed class even representing the British and Irish Lions in rugby union. He also shone for Wales in rugby league when called upon during his time at St Helens. The centre played his part in St Helens’ double in 1996 guiding them to the inaugural Super League title. He’s joined by another forgotten Super League centre in Michael Eager. The former Warrington, Hull FC and Castleford star racked up the tries in England and also impressed when on international duty with Ireland.
Halfbacks: Lee Briers and Danny Brough
Like Iestyn Harris, Lee Briers played his part in guiding Wales to the World Cup semi-finals in 2000. That was just the peak of his Wales career which saw him rack up the tries and goals. One player who certainly deserved to lift the Super League trophy during his remarkable career, he did however claim three Challenge Cups whilst at Warrington. Alongside him is another remarkable halfback who was denied Super League glory. Brough did however claim the Man of Steel in 2013 as he turned Huddersfield into a real force. He also was a star for Scotland taking them to an unlikely draw with New Zealand in 2016.
Props: Terry O’Connor and Barrie McDermott
The duo may be well known for their work with Sky Sports, but both are Ireland internationals and accomplished ones at that. Terry O’Connor won the Super League title with Wigan in 1998 as he became one of the prominent props at the start of Super League. Barrie McDermott garnered a similar reputation at Leeds scoring a superb try in the 1999 Challenge Cup Final before playing his part in Leeds’ first Grand Final success in 2004.
Hooker: Kerion Cunningham
To many Super League’s greatest number nine, Cunningham also shown for Wales on the international stage. Another key member of the Wales side who went all the way to the World Cup semi-finals, he gave them undoubted star power. A five-time Super League Champion, he’s a Super League great and deserving of his place in this side.
Second-Rowers: James Bentley and Chris Joynt
The past and present of the Saints backrow. Chris Joynt is one of Super League’s greatest ever skippers and was the scorer of arguably Super League’s most famous try as he capped off the famous ‘wide to West’ move. But he also played his part for Ireland and was an ever-present in their World Cup campaign in 2000. Alongside him is St Helens’ current star second-row in James Bentley. The Leeds-bound backrower has been one of the best forwards in the league in recent years and was key to the Saints side who won the Grand Final last term. He has also impressed for Ireland when called upon.
Loose-Forward: Brad Singleton
Yet another Irish international, the Wigan Warrior is one of Super League’s most underrated modern forwards and is capable of playing at prop and 13. A treble winner at Leeds in 2015, he kept Kylie Leuluai and Adam Cuthbertson on the bench in the Grand Final and even scored at Wembley that year. In 2017, he won a second Grand Final and has since played in another as a Warrior providing the Cherry and Whites with exactly what they needed in 2020. He did the same for Ireland in the 2017 World Cup providing much needed size and power down the middle of the field.