James Bell newest rookie to play for Scotland at Rugby League World Cup

By Moana Makapelu Lee
  • Auckland

James Bell is Scotland's newest rookie to be named in the squad for the Rugby League World Cup. But the New Zealand Māori Rugby League may not be the only New Zealand Māori player to get field time at the World Cup this year.

Bell was still donning his New Zealand Māori jersey as the team assembled today in Auckland, even though he will not be playing for the side's New Zealand Residents clash this weekend.

"Now it's a chance to connect with my Scottish side too so there are positives there and I can't wait to learn more about my heritage and more about my people on that side of my family."

However, Bell may not be the only New Zealand Māori player who will be competing in this year's World Cup as New Zealand Māori Rugby league currently negotiate a game at the world cup. 

Head Coach for the New Zealand Māori side, Ricky Henry says, "There's a whole lot of stuff in the background to play and guys like JD and New Zealand Rugby League Board are trying to get us those games that we need to lift our profile."

It's been nine years since New Zealand Māori took the field at the 2008 World cup as an invitational team. Something New Zealand Māori Rugby League are working to solidify in the future.

Manager Wayne Capper says, "If we can perform on the field and get the backing and support from those high profile players then I think it will go a long way to getting those games that we are after."

But it may be a while yet before we see a New Zealand Māori international team with the world cup's one nation, one team policy.