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Scotland Rugby League today confirmed the Widnes Vikings coach Steve McCormack as their coach for this year's Rugby League World Cup in Australia and also announced a five figure sponsorship deal with one of the UKs biggest retailers, The Co-operative.
With the start of the Rugby League World Cup seven months away, the Scottish RL has re-appointed McCormack, the man who led the Scots to qualification back in November, on a 12 month deal. The 35 year old will maintain the role he has held for four years with Scotland on a part-time basis allowing him to continue his full-time coaching duties at Widnes Vikings. As well as McCormack's reappointment, Richard Thewlis, the managing director of engage Super League side Huddersfield Giants, has been appointed general manager for the national team. David McNeil, Chairman of Scotland Rugby League, said: "We are delighted to reappoint Steve as the man who will lead Scotland into the Rugby League World Cup. "He has a proven track record of success at club level and did a tremendous job in gaining qualification for this year's tournament. We understand we will be underdogs when we head to Australia but I'm sure Steve will get all the lads fired up and hopefully we can cause a few shocks whilst we're out there." Steve McCormack said: "I'm delighted that I will lead this proud nation into its second consecutive World Cup. Rugby League is a rapidly developing sport in Scotland and an appearance in the World Cup alongside some of the best players in the world will only help continue this. "Leading the team out at the World Cup will be one of my proudest moments and I would like to thank the board of the Scottish Rugby League for putting their faith in me." Scotland qualified for this year's tournament, which begins on Saturday 25 October, after defeating Wales 37-32 on aggregate over two legs back in November. At the World Cup they have been drawn in Pool 2 alongside France and Fiji. To qualify for a semi-final spot they will not only have to top their group but also beat the winners of Pool 3 that includes Ireland, Tonga and Samoa. The three other semi-finalists will come from Pool 1 which contains the heavyweights of England, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and competition hosts, favourites and current holders Australia. As preparations for the World Cup in Australia begin in earnest, Scotland Rugby League has also unveiled The Co-operative as the team's main shirt sponsor for the next two years. As part of the agreement The Co-operative, who have around 450 outlets and employ 8,000 staff in Scotland, will also be shirt sponsor for all the national sides from Under-16s upwards. Liz Matkin, The Co-operative's Sponsorship Manager, said: "This is a partnership we are extremely proud of as we have a huge presence in Scotland. "The players and management have achieved a remarkable feat in qualifying for the World Cup in Australia later this year and we are delighted to be involved with them. "In addition to supporting the national side on an international scale, we are also committed to the sport at community level, which is where our sponsorship has its greatest synergy." This will be the second consecutive Rugby League World Cup that Scotland has been part of having played in the 2000 tournament. In that competition they lost all three closely fought group games to NZ Maoris, Ireland and Samoa. At October's tournament, Scotland Rugby League will be captained by engage Super League star Danny Brough who plays at scrum half for the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats. In 2005, Brough won a Challenge Cup winners