The USA Rugby League (USARL) South Conference All-Stars and Puerto Rico have named their respective squads for their history-making game in Tampa on Saturday, October 8th.
The match is taking the place of USARL’s annual North versus South All-Star game.
“Usually we play against the North, but they are in disarray because of the unsanctioned people trying to take over rugby league in the USA,” says South head coach Sean Rutgerson.
“This is the first chance in a while to see some representative rugby league and the first opportunity for the players to put their best foot forward as it’s only a couple of weeks before we take on Canada.”
Rutgerson says while Puerto Rico is an unknown quantity, he believes that his team is a well-rounded side.
“As Puerto Rico are new, we don’t know what to expect from them, but I expect our players to follow the game plan and execute the plays,” he adds.
“I’m really looking forward to it and it’s good to see Puerto Rico playing rugby league and I hope we can help them in in the future.”
Puerto Rico team president Jonathan Torres says while Hurricane Fiona caused widespread destruction when it smashed into the island in September, it didn’t disrupt their preparations to any great degree.
He says players named in the Coquis’ squad are due to fly to Florida this week.
“As far as what we expect of the match, we know it will be a challenge; with many of us having families on the island that are effected by the hurricane and also in the state of Florida,” he says.
“We hope to represent the strength of our culture and put up the fight we know we can.”
USA South All-Stars:
Josh Jackson, Terrance James, Vashon Marrs, Mason McCrory, David Washington, Justin Washington, Malcolm Webb, James Williams (Jacksonville Axemen), Cody Blackwell, Justin Branca, Gunnar Johnson, Bart Longchamp, Justin Lopez, Andrew Zuluaga (Tampa Mayhem), Roderigus Caesar, Wes Piggins, Liam Piggins, Rashad Shelton, (Southwest Florida Copperheads), Claudius Pubien (Miami)
Puerto Rico Coquis:
Carlos Verango, DeJon Taylor, Elijah Valle, Eric Soto, Gabriel Cuprill, Javier Oavila-Lopez, Jay Muniz, Jet Ortiz, Jon Torres, Michael Gromacki, PJ Walter, Samson Rios, Sebastian Murati, Sergio Acala, Terry Pledger, Zavian Arroyo, Ben Beiro