PAUPERS INTO PRINCES
The real master coaches aren’t running England or Australia. They coach the second-tier nations whose players self-fund their World Cup trip.
Take Steve McCormack. He’s coached the Scots for 16 years. Rugby league is a speck compared to rugby union or soccer there, but he’s taken them to the top four in the world.
The secret to this unlikely story is creating a culture of stability, belief and years of hard work. “We’ve never had a lot of finance, so we knew that every resource we had, we had to maximise it,” McCormack says.
“So we used the Scottish training base up in Inverclyde. We spent a lot of time tucked away on the coast of Scotland and just work exceptionally hard in our values, culture and on the training field.”
McCormack knows he can’t compete with England, but takes pride in creating players who love playing for their country. “International football should never be about money. A lot of players have actually lost money during the duration of tournaments.
“It’s about the blend of people. You have players like Lachlan Coote and Peter Wallace, who’ve been fantastic in the NRL, then the Phillips brothers, both Callum and Brett, who work part-time at Workington and in West Cumbria.
“It’s an experience that’s different to what people are used to, but somehow we’ve got that blend. It’s a really good environment to work in.”
Scotland plays Papua New Guinea, Samoa and New Zealand and should be a good shot at qualifying for the quarter-finals.