Rugby League World Cup: Steve McCormack hails Cumbria games

Rugby League World Cup

  • Dates: 26 October to 30 November

Coverage: Watch England's group matches and Wales v Italy, plus one quarter-final, one semi-final and the final live on BBC TV, online, mobiles and Connected TVs. Listen to every match live on BBC Radio 5 or 5 live sports extra

Scotland coach Steve McCormack believes Rugby League World Cup games in Cumbria is "huge" for the sport in the region.

McCormack, previously coach at Barrow and Whitehaven, held his squad's pre-tournament training camp in the region.

17 years of hurt

In the initial plans for the 1996 launch of Super League, Barrow, Carlisle, Whitehaven and Workington were to amalgamate and play their home matches at Derwent Park.

This did not materialise, Workington were relegated in Super League's inaugural season, and that remains the last time Cumbria had a top flight rugby league team.

The Scots play both their group games, against Tonga and Italy, at the 10,000 capacity Derwent Park in Workington.

"The World Cup is a huge opportunity to grow rugby league outside the normal heartlands and to get a couple of games in Cumbria is unbelievable," he said.

The county does not have a professional club playing in Super League but Barrow Raiders, Whitehaven and Workington Town all play in the Championship - the sport's second tier.

At present, there is no promotion and relegation between the two divisions as Super League operates a licensing system, although under current restructuring plans it will return in 2015 when the top flight is cut from 14 to 12 teams.

In the last round of applications for 2012, Barrow were included on the final three-team shortlist but lost out to Widnes.

"The hard work the people of West Cumbria have done to get these games is fantastic and I don't think you can underestimate how important this is to the area," McCormack told BBC Look North.

"We're very proud to have based ourselves here and walking round everyone is stopping us and asking questions. It's a fantastic place to play rugby league and hopefully there's a lasting legacy."