The Canadian women’s national team is back home, and the players are already looking ahead following their historic triumph in the inaugural Americas North Championship.
The Ravens were too good for the United States and hosts Jamaica posting solid wins against both to clinch the championship.
Canada opened their two-game set with a 30-4 victory over the USA Hawks and then followed that up with a massive 64-2 besting of the women Reggae Warriors.
The US women won the first game of the series by downing Jamaica 78-8.
Ravens head coach Mike Castle says he couldn’t be more pleased for his players.
“We’re so happy to be the first Americas North champions!” he tells Rugby League Planet.
“We did a great job on defense throughout the whole tournament. We only let in six points across the two games, which I think is a great effort considering the heat and humidity. That’s something we’re extremely proud of.
“It’s a great reward for all of our hard work. It was a great experience, and we had a great time in Jamaica.”
Castle goes on to say that the players had to overcome some unexpected challenges in the second game, both with their mental approach to the contest and the conditions.
“We started off strong on defense, with Dani Franada blocking a kick and giving us the chance to score the first try,” he continues. “But we were sloppy with the ball and made too many mistakes at the start of the game. The weather didn’t help.
“The game was delayed after we warmed up because of a thunderstorm, so we had to go back to the locker room and wait for half an hour. Then we had to warm up again. It messed with our rhythm.
“We were glad when another storm came and gave us a chance to regroup. We came back with a better mindset and played much better.”
The Americas North Championships are part of the International Rugby League’s moves to rekindle a meaningful international calendar for men’s and women’s teams. The IRL’s plans were brought on in part by France unexpectedly pulling out as host of the 2025 Rugby League World Cup.
The international calendar moves into high gear late this month when the Tongan men’s team opens its three-match series against England in the UK. Also kicking off this month are the Pacific Championships for men and women.
As a sidenote to all of these last-minute international games, France’s withdrawal as host of the 2025 Rugby League World Cup forced the IRL to scrap the RLWC qualifiers that were due to take place this northern hemisphere autumn in Europe and North America.
However, a smattering of internationals is now underway in Europe and the USA Hawks men’s national team is slated to play Jamaica in Jamaica in November, while the Canadian men’s national team is still hopeful of lining up at least one match against the US to round out 2023.