The United States men’s national team has been named for the upcoming rugby league international against Jamaica.
The American team will travel to the Caribbean island to take on the Reggae Warriors in December as part of the International Rugby League’s (IRL) renewed international calendar.
The Hawks’ 18-man squad named by coach Rutgerson and assistant coach David Ulch is pretty much a new look squad and includes seven debutants.
“We’re stoked to welcome seven new caps,” Rutgerson tells Rugby League Planet.
“Adding this number of new faces to the squad this tour is truly indicative of the rapid growth of rugby league here in the United States. The momentum we’re building year after year is not only strengthening our team but also illustrating the bright future of rugby league in the States.”
Rutgerson says this is one of the most geographically diverse squads he has picked since becoming the Hawks’ head coach.
“While we have had players from various countries, including Australia, New Zealand, and England in the past, the current team is still quite diverse,” he says.
“The ongoing growth of the game and the development of the USARL have further expanded our domestic talent pool.
“Our current team selection is a reflection of the regions where rugby league has experienced rapid growth and high levels of competition. However, as more clubs emerge and athletes gain valuable experience, we are confident that our scope will expand to encompass a more diverse geographic representation, further enhancing the team’s composition.”
The USA’s last game was a year ago in Tampa when they lost to North American rivals Canada. Before that, they were beaten by the Cook Islands in the final #RLWC2021 qualification game in 2019 which came on the heels of two straight defeats by the Jamaicans in 2018 and 2019.
Coach Rutgerson says ending the team’s four-game skid is one of the goals of the forthcoming matchup with their Americas region rivals the Reggae Warriors.
“Well, it’s important to maintain perspective. We understand that every match is a new opportunity,” he says. “We’ve thoroughly reviewed those games and learned from them, and now our focus is firmly on the future.
“My coaching staff and I are dedicated to making the best of our available resources to ensure that our next game ends with a win.”
And the coach says the notion of winning has many different aspects to it.
“Every international game holds the same weight for us, and the upcoming match against Jamaica is no exception,” says Rutgerson. “It’s part of our ongoing commitment to excellence.
“The significance of winning goes beyond just this game; it’s about representing USA Rugby League with pride, setting a standard of performance, and continuing to elevate the sport’s profile. So, to us, every game is equally important in our ongoing journey towards success.”
The US and Jamaica were originally scheduled to play on November 4, 2023, but the match has since been postponed until December.
USA Hawks squad:
Sean Hunt, Urban Iyo, Peter Lupton, Tevita Bryce*, Matt Duckworth*, Kyle Granby*, Jason Martin*, David Washington, Ryan Bannerot, Mason McCrory, Malcolm Webb, James Williams, Robert Beasley*, Andre Whaley*, Wes Piggins*, Joe Eichner, Matt Finnesy, Andrew Zuluaga
Head coach: Sean Rutgerson
Assistant coach: David Ulch