Inside Sport - - IN HINDSIGHT -

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.

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