TAMPA, FL – I had the opportunity on Friday (22 July) to speak with Steve Williams, who serves as Marketing Director for the USARL Hawks – the USA Rugby League (USARL) National Team, about Saturday’s (23 July) USARL All-Star Game, which takes place in Philadelphia, PA, USA.
This game marks the second of a three-game Rugby League Americas Championship Series involving the USA Hawks (currently ranked 10th in the world), the Canada Wolverines (14th), and the Jamaica Reggae Warriors (27th).
Canada won game one against Jamaica 38-2 on Saturday, 16 July in Levittown, PA, USA. The USA vs. Jamaica All-Star matchup serves as game two of the series. The completion of the series takes place on 24 September, when the USA will take on Canada in the third and final game in Toronto, ON, Canada.
The winner of this three-game series takes the Rugby League Americas Championship. The USA has already won the qualifier for inclusion in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup (RLWC), hosted by the Rugby League International Federation (RILF), which will take place next October and November in cities across Australia and New Zealand (NZ).
COLE: Who are the USA Hawks?
WILLIAMS: The USARL Hawks, the USA’s representative team, is a true USA National Rugby League (USARL) Team, comprised of national players who qualify through the heritage relationships (live abroad, but with one parent from the USA), and others those who are born and bred in USA and play in the USARL competition.
COLE: Can you provide me with more background information relating to the Rugby League Americas Championship Series?
WILLIAMS: We developed the Americas’ Championship in order to increase level of competition in America’s annual tournament outside of simply domestic games. This is the Rugby League Americas Championship Series first year. In 2015, the USA won both games (Jamaica and Canada) in the Rugby League World Cup Qualifier Series. The USARL All-Star Game is part two of a three-game series.
COLE: Will any players from the South Conference USARL participate in Saturday’s All-Star Game?
WILLIAMS: In total, six players from the South Conference USARL will help fill Saturday’s seventeen-man roster in the matchup against Jamaica. We chose three players from the Central Florida Warriors (Rich Mizell, Taylor Alley, Barthelemy Longchamp); two from the Jacksonville Axemen (Jon Purnell and Joseph Eichner); and one additional participant from the Atlanta Rhinos (Nick Newlin).
COLE: Where can readers learn more about the USARL Hawks, the Canada Wolverines, the Jamaica Reggae Warriors, as well as the RLIF and the 2017 RLWC?
WILLIAMS: Interested parties can visit the USARL website USARL Hawks website, the Canada Wolverines website, the Jamaica Reggae Warriors Facebook page, the RLIF website, and the 2017 RLWC website. A delayed broadcast copy of the USARL All-Star Game will be available 24 to 48 hours after the matchup’s conclusion.
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P.S… Keep up with the Jacksonville Axemen, Atlanta Rhinos, Tampa Mayhem, Central Florida Warriors, and the SE USA Rugby League (USARL) this season with the help of Rugby Wrap Up. To learn more about the Jacksonville Axemen, please visit the club’s website. For more information about the Atlanta Rhinos, please visit the club’s website. To learn more about the Central Florida Warriors, please visit the team’s website. For more information about the Tampa Mayhem, please visit the team’s website. For additional information about the USA Rugby League (USARL), please visit the USARL website.