Braveheart Bell dreading the haka
Scotland international rookie James Bell couldn't be happier about the jersey he will be wearing at the Rugby League World Cup, but admits the idea of facing the haka doesn't sit well.
Eligible for Scotland through his Aberdeen-born grandfather who he shares a name with, Bell is also a proud Maori who represented New Zealand's indigenous team just 12 months ago.
One of the leaders of a powerful haka that day, it's little wonder the 23-year-old forward is apprehensive about being on the other side of it, should he be selected to play for Scotland in their November 4 match against the Kiwis in Christchurch.
"It's going to be tough, it's going to be different, I have never faced a haka in these circumstances before," Bell told NRL.com.
"We played the New Zealand Maori team last year in a trial match when I was playing for the Warriors and they did a haka. I couldn't face it, so me and a couple of other mates did a haka back.
"I don't know if I will do that this time though."
Selection in the Bravehearts' final squad for the World Cup caps a huge year for Bell, in which he made his NRL Telstra Premiership debut for the Warriors in Round 21.
Just over a year ago he was still featuring occasionally for his junior side the Papakura Sea Eagles in the Auckland first division when not required by the Warriors' reserve-grade side.
"When I think back on all my achievements over the last year and a bit, it is pretty overwhelming to think it was all just a dream a little while ago, but now it's a reality," Bell said.
"It's gone by too quick, it's kind of all a blur now, at the time of making my NRL debut I was just too excited and nervous to think about anything else, but the year has been amazing.
"If I get the opportunity to play the Kiwis in New Zealand, it will be the best thing that has happened in my career. I am pretty sure I will put a little bit extra into my tackles if I face the Kiwis.
"Playing for the New Zealand Maori was a big achievement, so I've had the chance to represent the Maori side of my family, now I get the chance to represent the Scottish side."
Bell is the only current NRL player included in Scotland's 24-man squad and is one of three New Zealand-born players set to debut for the Bravehearts at the tournament, joining France-based brothers Kane and Andrew Bentley.