Danny Addy is preparing for the biggest game of his career tonight as Scotland bid to pull off a monumental World Cup upset against holders New Zealand.
The Bravehearts face Stephen Kearney’s men in the quarter-finals at Headingley, where an improbable victory would send them into a likely showdown with England at Wembley in the semi-final next weekend.
Addy, who has enjoyed a fine tournament for Steve McCormack’s side, expects to line up in the second row, with new Bulls team-mate Dale Ferguson absent through suspension.
The 22-year-old has impressed in a number of positions during Scotland’s three group stage matches, helping them to two wins and a draw, and will now go head-to-head with Kiwis superstar Sonny Bill Williams.
Addy, who played in all 27 Super League rounds for the Bulls this season, said: “It’s obviously the biggest game of my career but I’ve been trying not to think about it too much.
“I’ve tried to keep my mind elsewhere for the time being and then hopefully get fired in on Friday night.
“New Zealand are world champions and probably the best team in the world right now – and I might not get a chance to play against them again.
“I just need to go out there, give it 120 per cent and hope for the best.”
The Kiwis have racked up three huge wins in their group-stage matches, scoring 146 points against Sam-oa, France and Papua New Gui-nea.
However Addy insisted: “I don’t think they have been tested as much as they can be.
“Yes, we are massive underdogs and we know it but we thrive on that and we’re looking forward to it. If they have a bit of an off-day, and we play the best we can, then we can definitely cause an upset.
“Sonny Bill Williams is the best back-rower in the world but I’m not really thinking too much about him.
“I’m more focused on my own game and what I need to do because we’re 80 minutes away from playing at Wembley.
“To play against England on a stage as big as Wembley would be a dream come true. It’s what you dream about as a kid so hopefully we can cause an upset.”
Footage of the Scotland squad celebrating Tonga’s win over Italy at their team hotel in Manchester on Sunday, which sent Scotland into last eight, was posted on Youtube earlier this week.
McCormack’s players burst into an impromptu rendition of ‘Flower of Scotland’ and Addy said: “I was a bit nervous – I didn’t look at the screen for half the game!
“But when the final whistle went and the boys knew they had got through I was over the moon.
“We were there, up on seats and singing and cheering. It was a fantastic atmosphere and a great experience that I will never forget.
“The spirit in the squad is awesome and has brought us closer together so we’ll be looking to take that into the New Zealand game.
“I’ve never really been in a camp like this before and the whole experience has been class. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and made some really good friends.
“I’ve played in a few different positions, like I do at Bradford, and I’ve got on with everybody really well.”
Addy, meanwhile, expressed sympathy for Ferguson as he begins a two-match suspension after losing his appeal against the ban.
The second-rower was given a two-match ban by a review panel for a dangerous tackle on hooker Tui Samoa during last week’s win over the USA.
Addy said: “He’s a great player and a great bloke, Fergie, and we’ll miss him.
“He’s absolutely gutted that he’s missing out. It’s unfortunate because I didn’t think there was much in the challenge myself.”