The United States women have made a huge statement in just their second-ever game of rugby league by trouncing Jamaica 78-8 in the opening match of the Americas North Championships.
The match played at the University of West Indies on Saturday saw the USA Hawks score a total of 15 tries in a rout of the hosts, who were making their international debut.
The Americans got on the board within the opening minutes and never looked threatened. They crossed the dotted line seven times in the first stanza to lead by 38-2 at halftime.
Around midway through the half, the women Reggae Warriors tried in vain to get over the line, but despite repeated sets that saw them mount sustained pressure within the USA’s five-meter zone, they weren’t able to convert that pressure into points and finally settled for a penalty goal.
In general, the Jamaicans were not match fit. They had no go-forward and were outclassed in almost every facet of the game. They spent most of the game on the back foot and injuries to their players soaked up a lot of stoppage time.
On the flipside, the Hawks took the ball up hard all game long, were always enterprising on offense and played virtually flawless defense.
Hawks head coach Ady Cooney says they are delighted with the win.
“We want to give props to Jamaica for making history with their debut and we’re excited to see them grow and become strong competitors in the years to come,” he says.
The USA’s first half tries were scored by Brittany Royes (4), Marcaya Bailous (2) and Cyndi Campbell, while Courtney Treco kicked five conversions.
The second half started with Jamaica getting an early upper hand that resulted in their only try of the game, although the advantage was short-lived.
It started to rain heavily at about the halfway point of the second half, and while that made for slippery conditions and caused some handling errors by both sides, the Hawks outdid their first-half efforts by scoring another eight tries to round out the one-sided affair.
Getting on the scoreboard for the Americans were Mariah Blackmore, Rachel Bradley, Keki Jordan (2), Campbell, Agnes Fuerst, Royes and captain Sam Black-Keels. Campbell also booted four conversions.
The game was by far and away a complete turnaround from the American women’s debut against Canada in April 2022 when they were completely dominated by a better team.
“Our victory was all about great teamwork and sticking to our game plan, even though we didn’t know what to expect from the Jamaican team we needed to adapt early to their setup,” adds Cooney.
“Our players really stepped up, showing that we’re a force to be reckoned with and I’m excited for the Canadian game on Monday. This win is a sign of our dedication to excellence and the bright future of rugby in the Americas North region.”
Shanice Stewart, Mischica Stewart, Shoya Gordon, Tajera Jicholson, Venisha Mcleish, Alicia Richards , Shanique Smith, Sherine Johnson, Lovel Atkinson, Zahar Ennis, Darcy Price, Alassandra Miller, Tihanna Lewison
Subs: Anneisha McAllister, Daynna Angus, Debisha Scarlett, Amerr Kinlock
Try: Scarlett (42)
Goals: Smith 2/2
Brittney Dayes, Agnus Fuerst, Cyndi Campbell, Marcya Baylous, Mariah Blackmore, Samantha Black, Courtney Treco, Paris Harr, Nicole Fisch, Narcisse Jordan, Jeanne Beard, Katie Sanford, Caitlin Davis
Subs: Danielle Pola Wazko Siua, Shamarica Scott, Rachel Bradley, Nikki Snyder
Tries: Campbell (4, 34, 62), Dayes, (9, 13, 33, 78), Baylous (20, 35, 48, 50), Snyder (61, 72), Jordan (75), Samantha Black (80)
Goals: Treco 4/7, Fuerst 1/1, Campbell 4/7
Half time: 2-38
Americas North Championships schedule:
Game 2: USA vs Canada, University of West Indies, Kingston – Monday, September 25
Game 3: Jamaica vs Canada, University of West Indies, Kingston – Wednesday, September 27