TORONTO, ON – The USA Rugby League (USARL) Hawks takes on the Canada Wolverines Saturday, 24 September, at Lamport Stadium in Toronto, ON. The winner will be crowned victors in the inaugural Rugby League Americas’ Championship (RLAC), a three game tournament between USA, Canada and Jamaica. Both the Hawks and the Wolverines soundly defeated the Jamaica Reggae Warriors in July. Canada defeated Jamaica 38 to 2 on 17 July, with the Hawks beating the Reggae Warriors 54 to 4 one week later.
The game also represents game 1 of the Colonial Cup, a tournament that continues to build tradition and measures the progress of both these growing Rugby League nations. This year, 2016, marks the seventh year the two teams will battle for the Colonial Cup. Canada defeated the US in both Colonial Cup (CC) games last year, but the Hawks’ Coach and Captain feel confident going into the game at Toronto.
When asked about how this year’s squad compares to 2015’s, Hawks Head Coach Dustin Cooper replied, “We are a more composed team with a clearer sense of direction [than in 2015]. Most of the squad have a number of international games under their belt now, so they know what’s expected of them individually and as a team.”
Captain Nickolas Newlin had this to say about 2015’s defeats by the Wolverines: “I wouldn’t say we were beat convincingly in last year’s Colonial Cup, as we had opportunities to win both games in the end. If not for some costly mistakes by some young and inexperienced players in international play, including myself. And I think that’s the biggest difference heading into the games with Canada this year.”
USARL also spoke with Jamie Lester, Head Coach for the Canada Wolverines. Lester had the following to say about Saturday’s game, “Given the close results from our three tests last year, I’d expect much the same this year. There will be some fireworks from the forwards and a number of players from both teams will be looking to impress at the international level. It promises to be a great series.”
USARL Hawks roster for Colonial Cup series
Junior Vaivai fresh off representative duties for Country Rugby League in Australia returns partnering Matt Walsh in the halves. Taylor Howden who featured heavily at the 2015 Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers Americas rejoins a number of familiar faces and several newcomers all looking to impress selections leading up to the Rugby League World Cup 2017. The players’ names are listed alphabetically, along with their respective home clubs:
Taylor Alley (Central Florida Warriors)
Luke Barron (White Plains Wombats)
Casey Clarke (Philadelphia Fight)
CJ Cortalano (New York Knights)
Joe Eichner (Jacksonville Axemen)
Gabriel Farley (Lindenwood University)
Rich Henson (Philadelphia Fight)
Taylor Howden (Ohio Rugby)
Andrew Kneisly (Philadelphia Fight)
Bart Longchamp (Central Florida Warriors)
Roman Lowery (Philadelphia Fight)
Craig MacKenzie (Boston 13s)
Nick Newlin (Atlanta Rhinos)
Jon Purnell (Jacksonville Axemen)
Zach Reichenbach (Philadelphia Fight)
Josh Rice (New York Knights)
Jon St John (Tampa Mayhem)
Junior Vaivai (Illawarra Devils/NSW Country RL Rep.)
Matt Walsh (White Plains Wombats)
USARL summarizes Colonial Cup history, dating back to 2010.
The USA defeated Canada 22 to 16 in September 2010’s inaugural Colonia Cup match. The game took place in Richardson Memorial Stadium at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
The following year, 2011, the USA and Canada Rugby League Association (CRLA) agreed to expand the Colonial Cup to a ‘home and away’ series. Each team won their home fixture; the USA won the first of the two games 18 to 2, with Canada securing their first win in the second match with an 18 to 16 win. However, the USA won the series by an overall aggregate score of 34-20.
In 2012, the Cup was again contested over 2 games, with the USA winning both games. In 2013, the series was expanded to a best 2 of 3 series. In 2014, Canada won its first ever Colonial Cup trophy. As mentioned earlier, in 2015, Canada defeated the US in both games, despite the Hawks’ home field advantage in Philadelphia, PA.
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