Photo Credit: Carolyn Ritchie
The USA and Canada men’s rugby league teams are putting the final touches to their preparations for Saturday’s one-off international in Tampa, Florida.
It will be the first game for either side since 2019 as the global pandemic has kept them both off the field.
The Hawks have made just one change to their squad with D’Montae Noble now unavailable.
USA head coach Sean Rutgerson says he wants to see his guys play with positive enthusiasm.
“I’m expecting them to be really hyped up and excited to get international footy going again,” he tells Rugby League Planet.
Rutgerson says because it has been three years since the team has played, winning means a whole lot to him and the players.
“These guys are playing for their country, they’ll be representing the USA, so it’s massive,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a World Cup game, or any international game, you’re playing for your country, so it’s real big and I expect our guys to lift up to the standard and play well.”
Canadian head coach Aaron Zimmerle says for the past two weeks, he has been running training camps with players based on the west coast and in Toronto.
He says aside from Saturday’s game, he also has one eye on next year’s Americas region qualifiers for #RLWC2025 in France.
“The main goal is to set some fundamental standards about our level of play in defence and offence,” he told RLP earlier.
“If we can lay a platform of front loading our defence and kick chase, high completions and field position, and good individual skill execution, then we will have laid a platform to build towards the qualifiers next year.”
1 David Washington (Capt) 2 James Williams 3 Cody Blackwell 4 Ryan Burroughs 5 Kevin Reed Jr 6 Peter Lupton 7 Mason McCrory 8 Justin Williams 9 Bart Longchamp 10 Justin Branca 11 Gunnar Johnson 12 Malcolm Webb 13 Andrew Zuluaga 14 Sean Hunt 15 Rashad Shelton 16 Vashon Marrs 17 Terrance James 18 Claudius Pubien
Blake Mahovic, Colton Carpenter, Luke Torroca, Jordan Henry, Josh Michalik, Greg Wise, Jacob Bourne, Charles Curran, Rhys Jacks (Capt), Kimi Vinituraga, Jason Chuck, Dave Astley, Scyler Dumas, Nick Hails, Christian Miller, Scott Christian, Lawrence Davies