JAMES FORD claims York City Knights have played only a "small part" in Kieran Moran's rise into Rugby League World Cup ranks - but is proud the club will have some representation at the forthcoming extravaganza.

Moran, who played 18 times for the Knights this year on dual-registration from Hull KR, flew down under with the Scotland squad on Sunday in preparation for the tournament, which takes place in Australia, New Zealand and rugby league-mad Papua New Guinea, starting next Thursday.

The player himself says it's a "dream come true", having got the call-up from Bravehearts boss Steve McCormack just before going on holiday, and, despite being a Robins full-timer, he was quick to admit he "owed a lot to the people at York".

Ford said: "I'm obviously pleased for Kieran that he's got this recognition and pleased that he's continuing to develop as a player.

"Having spent a full year with him it does not surprise me. He's a really good kid, down to earth and humble. I know he's worked really hard in areas he needs to improve and this is his reward.

"I was impressed by his development through the year.

"I think he'll be really excited by the prospect of challenging himself at that level. He's capable of having a positive impact on Scotland's chances and it will be really interesting to see how he fares."

Asked if he was proud of helping Moran achieve his call-up, Ford modestly said: "He's Hull KR's player and it's great for them that they've got another player in their squad gaining such recognition.

"It reflects well on the environment at Hull KR and their outstanding coaches."

Moran, 21, played five times for the Robins in 2016 and three on loan at Newcastle and this year made only two substitute appearances for his parent club as they won promotion back to Super League.

His real breakthrough instead came at the Knights, and he was as gutted as everyone else after their League One campaign ended in heartbreaking fashion in that epic play-off semi-final at Whitehaven.

When pressed about the Knights' role in his call-up, Ford added: "The small part we've played is something I'm really proud about."

Moran, who was named in Scotland's squad for last year's Four Nations but is yet to win a cap, was under no illusions that playing for the Knights was crucial this season.

He told the Hull Daily Mail: “I owe a lot to the people at York.

"They’ve been really good to me, allowing me to play big minutes week in, week out.

“To be playing against these big men has prepared me for what’s to come in our tough group. It’s definitely benefited me facing these tougher blokes and having a full season of it.”

Scotland, captained again by veteran former Knights half-back Danny Brough, are in the tournament's so-called group of death, facing New Zealand, Tonga and Samoa.

Moran added: “They are three massive sides and much tougher than people expected a few weeks ago. I’ll hopefully get my chance to have a go."

On the World Cup itself, Ford reckoned a betting man could not look beyond favourites and trophy holders Australia.

But he said: "I'm really excited by it all. Obviously I'm desperate for England to do well - I'm desperate for all the Home Nations to do well and give British rugby league a really positive lift and help to move our game on.

"There are positive things happening in our competitions. It will be great for these players and for the British game in general to get the recognition I feel it deserves."

Asked if he thought England could lift the trophy come December 2, he said: "You have to be a brave person to suggest anybody other than Australia will win.

"Some of the Pacific Island nations look pretty strong - there will be some big collisions around in their matches.

"New Zealand are always promising and dangerous.

"Then there's England too. It's shaping up to be a really exciting competition."