McCormack hails Scotland’s rugby league journey

Scotland coach Steve McCormack has paid tribute to all the players and staff who have contributed to his team claiming their first European Championship crown at the weekend.

Despite the Scots losing by 38 points to 22 to France at Galashiels on Friday night, Ireland were unable to secure a large enough margin of victory to overtake McCormack’s men in the final standings.

Scotland will now play in the 2016 Four Nations, amazing progress for a nation which only began playing international rugby league 20 years ago.

“You can’t really underestimate how far we’ve come in the last two years,” McCormack told reporters after Fridays’ game.

“We had a fantastic World Cup, getting to the quarter-finals, and we’ve had eight debutants in this competition without any resources.

“To think we’re still in with a chance of playing in the Four Nations and winning the European Championship is testament to everybody concerned with the nation.

“We’ve tried over the last couple of years to get a pathway so we’ve looked at our under-16s, our under-18s and our under-19s and some of them have played in this tournament.

“You look at people like Oscar Thomas and Sonny Esslemont – Harvey Burnett has played his first ever game against men on Friday night – and it shows we’ve got a good crop of players coming through.

“They’ve come in as lads and gone away from it as men. The future is very bright for Scotland.”

McCormack also stressed just how much sacrifice has been made by all involved with the Scotland team to bring success.

“It’s a remarkable achievement and all credit to all the players and staff,” said McCormack, according to The Scotsman.

“Dave Rotheram and I have been working at this for ten years, John Duffy has been here even longer, Danny Brough had been here ten years, so have some of the backroom staff.

“This is a reward for that commitment, giving up their spare time and holidays to help Scotland Rugby League.

“We’ve worked hard and with some quality and a huge amount of desire, we’ve won a trophy at last. No-one expected that but we deserve it.”

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