Scotland captain Danny Brough wants his side to build on their success at the Rugby League World Cup by pushing for a place in the 2016 Four Nations Series.
The Bravehearts’ fairytale run came to a predictable halt when they crashed to a 40-4 defeat by New Zealand in the first quarter-final at Headingley on Friday night, but they bowed out with their pride and dignity intact.
Brough’s men created several chances and, despite trailing 36-0, they drew the biggest cheer from the 16,207 crowd when left winger Alex Hurst scored their solitary try on 64 minutes.
Scotland now face an uncertain future until the next World Cup in 2017, especially after revealing that their funding was cut on the eve of Friday’s match, but both Brough and coach Steve McCormack remain committed to the cause.
Brough, whose class stood out in a well-beaten side, is hoping they can retain the services of their trio of NRL players and be given the chance ahead of France to play in the next series, which will involve the Kiwis and Kangaroos and is to be held in the northern hemisphere.
“We’ve got to try and push on and get in the Four Nations,” the Hudersfield captain said. “Hopefully we can get Peter Wallace, Kane Linnett and Luke Douglas back over because they’ve been outstanding for us. If we have a decent team next year and a good crack, you never know.”
McCormack, who has been Scotland’s head coach for a decade, spoke of his pride and said his team’s achievements in the World Cup had prompted him to consider a return to club coaching.
The former Salford, Widnes and Whitehaven boss is currently lecturing in sports science at a college in Warrington, but has been offered a job on the backroom staff of Wigan.
“I’ve had eight months off and enjoyed time with my family, but being around players like Danny and being on the big stage like this certainly got my appetite back for the game,” McCormack said.
“I’m full-time teaching at the moment, but a few options have cropped up during the last few weeks. One of those is at Wigan, working with the scholarship kids.
“I’ll sit down and assess everything after the World Cup.”
New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney was delighted after watching his side run in eight tries, five of them from their star-studded threequarter line, to become the first team to reach the semi-finals. “I thought it was a pretty good performance,” Kearney commented.
The Kiwis will meet the winners of last night’s tie between England and France in the first part of next Saturday’s semi-final double header at Wembley.