Rugby League World Cup: Steve McCormack believes Scotland have a chance

Last Updated: 15/11/13 7:48pm

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Steve McCormack: Scotland's head coach ready for one of the biggest challenges in sport

Steve McCormack: Scotland's head coach ready for one of the biggest challenges in sport

Sky Bet

Scotland coach Steve McCormack has described his team's task against World Cup holders New Zealand as the "biggest challenge in sport" but he believes he has spotted some weaknesses in their game.

The Bravehearts, who entered the tournament with just one World Cup victory to their name, are one of only three unbeaten teams in the last eight but they will need to pull off the biggest shock the sport has ever seen if they are to stay alive.

McCormack is acutely aware of the size of the task but believes the momentum his side has built since shocking Tonga in their opening group match will stand them in good stead in Friday night's first quarter-final in Leeds.

"I think it's the biggest challenge in sport really, for me," he said after Scotland captain's run at Headingley.

"These players will give absolutely everything, they'll give their last drop of energy, as they have done in their previous games."
Steve McCormack

"Rugby league is one of the toughest sports you can play and we're playing against the world champions.

"But we've always been underdogs throughout the years and in this game we're probably bigger underdogs than ever before.

"But these players will give absolutely everything, they'll give their last drop of energy, as they have done in their previous games.

Challenge

"If you do that, you've always got a chance. We're not just here to make the numbers up. We're aware of the challenge, it's massive, we're not daft.

"But in sport shocks happen and, if New Zealand have an off day and we perform exceptionally well, who knows what can happen?"

One of the biggest threats will come from former All Black Sonny Bill Williams, whose first-half hat-trick destroyed Papua New Guinea at Headingley in last Friday's final group match.

Asked if he had allocated a specific role to one of his players to target the silky skills of Williams, McCormack replied: "Yes, 13 of them. We've looked at what New Zealand do and we've looked at individuals within their camp.

"We've looked at strategies that may work against them. They're an outstanding team, very well coached, with big, powerful units. They are everything you want from a rugby league team.

"There are not many weaknesses in the New Zealand team but hopefully we've identified a couple."

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