He shares a surname with an iconic Scottish patriot so it’s no surprise Peter Wallace is excited about the opportunity to represent Scotland in rugby league.
The Blaxland native’s maternal grandmother was born in Scotland, giving him the green light to play for the Bravehearts at the World Cup in England later this month.
“I already indicated my eligibility to play for Scotland years ago when I signed an NRL contract and you had to show that, so Scotland approached me to play for them at this World Cup level,” Wallace told the Gazette on Monday.
“It will be my first World Cup game and my first game for Scotland, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”
And what a challenge it will be — the former Blaxland High School student will join his Bravehearts teammates just nine days before their opening clash against Tonga on October 29 as he will be attending his brother’s wedding in the meantime.
Scotland has 10 players with English Super League experience but only two others — Luke Douglas and Kane Linnett — with NRL experience.
Tonga has 20 players with NRL experience, including Wallace’s future teammates at Penrith next year, Brent Kite and Sika Manu.
Their other opponents in the pool rounds are rugby league lightweights Italy (November 3) and USA (November 7), with the winner of Group D going through to the quarter-finals on November 15 in Leeds.
“Our first pool game will be our toughest, against the Tongans, so if we beat them we will be well on our way to the quarter-finals, which we are aiming for,” Wallace said.
“We should have some good support, as two of our games are not too far away from Scotland [Wakefield in England’s far north] and our other pool game is in Salford.”
Wallace is also primed for a big NRL off-season training schedule with the Panthers after the World Cup, where his career began before moving to the Brisbane Broncos in 2008.
“It will be nice to be back — its probably the best outcome coming here and I’d like to finish my career with them [Penrith].
“It was really disappointing the way it finished [with the Broncos, playing the last few games off the bench before being offered an early release] but that’s how the dice rolls sometimes.
“Penrith has recruited well and the boys played really well this season, so hopefully the club can continue improving.”