Giants half-backs Danny Brough and Ryan Brierley could lead Scotland into next season’s World Cup ranked as the fourth best team in the world.

But Bravehearts boss Steve McCormack knows his side won’t be getting carried away by their lofty position in the global rankings.

The Scots are now officially up to fourth after skipper Brough inspired them to their shock 18-18 draw with New Zealand in the Four Nations Series two weeks ago.

That stunning scoreline helped lift them up from ninth place, overtaking Wales, Ireland, France, Fiji and Samoa in the process. Australia are first, New Zealand second and England third.

Video thumbnail, Rick Stone gives an injury update on Danny Brough
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Rick Stone gives an injury update on Danny Brough

McCormack’s men will play the Kiwis again in 2017 at the World Cup in Australia, in a group also containing Tonga and Samoa, when they will have a chance to consolidate their top-four spot.

At this stage there’s a fair chance Brough and Brierley could be the attacking link for Scotland at the global tournament, with Giants teammate Joe Wardle and anticipated new signing from Bradford Bulls Dale Ferguson also involved, as well as a strong contingent from the Australian NRL.

And McCormack is excited about the prospect of going into World Cup battle with such a strong squad at his disposal.

Steve McCormack of Scotland

“Being ranked fourth shows how far we have come, but we are not getting ahead of ourselves,” said McCormack, who has been in charge of the national team for the last 12 years.

“We’ve had really tight and competitive games with Ireland, France and Wales in the last couple of years. But we managed to get past Tonga at the last World Cup and have just drawn with New Zealand so, while we know how difficult it will be next year, our opponents won’t be taking us lightly.

“We’ve gained respect on the international stage and I can’t wait to see if this outstanding group of players can follow it up and do it again next year.”