Scotland relishing World Cup challenge

Scotland coach Steve McCormack is excited by the prospect of facing New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga in Pool B at the Rugby League World Cup in 2017.

The Scots will face the Kiwis in Christchurch in New Zealand, while the other two games will played in Cairns, Queensland, where Scotland will be based.

“It’s a tough draw and a massive challenge,” said McCormack.

“They are three outstanding teams, very physical teams with high quality players. When you put the heat factor into the equation and the travel to New Zealand, it becomes even tougher.

“But that’s what World Cups are all about: being tested by the very best in the toughest environment. I’ve spoken to the other coaches and some players this morning and we’re all excited at the prospect of that challenge.

“I wasn’t concerned whether we were in a four-team group or three teams like last time because you’ve got to win games to progress come what may.

“Every team will be well prepared with excellent players. You can look at the draw and think we might have preferred a European qualifier or someone like that but, as we saw at the last World Cup, that doesn’t mean anything.

“There will be no easy games. Some put us down as easier opponents in 2013 and we were tipped to finish bottom of our group, but we went through unbeaten to the quarter-finals. So we won’t be underestimating anyone.”

Meawhile, the Scots begin preparations for a testing Four Nations campaign at the end of the season next Wednesday, when a pool of potential players meets in Preston, Lancashire.

The Australia-based players will be able to contribute to the meeting via video link.

“The Four Nations will be a big help for us,” McCormack added.

“We’ve got two years of facing the best teams in the world, including the top three this year and probably the three most physical next year.

“It’s going to be an amazing 18 months and we will thrive on that challenge: Scotland teams always do. That’s what we are all about.”

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