Archive | December 2015

POLAND RUGBY LEAGUE REPORTS HEALTHY YEAR OF EXPANSION

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

FROM: POLAND RUGBY XIII

DATE: 24 December, 2015

CONTACT: Łukasz Łucka lukaszlucka

POLAND SEEKS GOVERNMENT RECOGNITION AFTER HEALTHY YEAR

Polska Rugby XIII is targeting full government recognition in the first quarter of 2016 after a highly encouraging 2015. What will be called the ‘Polish Rugby League Federation’ has been made possible thanks to the significant progress the governing body has made following an effective development strategy.

There are now six active clubs, five of whom will be registered under Polish law by the end of January; Lodz Magpies – the nation’s first formed – and now Tygrysy Chojny-Dąbrowa, Tomaszów Mazowiecki Wild Bears, Skierniewice Executioners, Sparta Brzeziny and latest newcomers Stryków Rugby League.

“The new teams are a result of our campaign called ‘train rugby League in you town’,” said PRXIII president Lukasz Lucka, the plan also seeing a group of 10-12-years-olds taking part.

“We organised training, went in to schools, distributed posters, contacted local media and local governments, we used social media – everything to reach people who might be interested in playing the game. Lodz’s second club, Tygrysy, was established by someone who got involved in Polish rugby league thanks to the RLEF match official and coaching courses we hosted last spring. It’s a youth club for now, but we’ll see how we can grow it.”

Lucka, who originally introduced rugby league to Poland believing it to be the ideal sport to help disaffected youngsters in his hometown of Lodz, added: “It was a big effort to introduce the game to all the new places, especially as we didn’t know anyone in these towns before, but Polish Rugby League is now stronger than ever.

“We proved to ourselves that our grassroots development strategy is right and sticking to that, we can achieve more in following years. We’re also very grateful to the international rugby league community. People from many countries were open to give us advice and share their experience with us. It was priceless support.”

Poland recently played a ‘Reds vs Whites’ match, which was the first domestic game of rugby league in the country. Over 40 players participated in a match that was officiated by local officials.

“Now we’re starting preparations before a big year in 2016,” concluded Lucka. “We plan to kick off our domestic competition as well as play the first official game of the Polish national team. We’re strongly focused on strengthening existing teams and establishing new ones in other towns.”

On Boxing Day, youngsterMikolaj Oledski, who was born in Poland, is set to make his debut for Leeds Rhinos, having come through their Academy.

PHIL CAPLAN

RLEF MEDIA OFFICER

Tel: 07850 719412

E-mail: phil.caplan

Web: http://www.rlef.eu.com

RLEF

20 Fitzroy Square,

London W1T 6EJ

+44 207 121 6526

danny.kazandjian

This e-mail (including any attachments) is intended only for the recipient(s) named above. It may contain confidential or privileged information and should not be read, copied or otherwise used without prior written consent. Statements or opinions may be expressed in this e-mail that are personal to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the RLEF.

The RLEF is not bound by any contract or obligation created by this e-mail and excludes all liability to you or any third party in respect of its contents (to the maximum extent permitted by the law).

It is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that opening this message and/or any of its attachments will not adversely affect its systems. No responsibility is accepted by the RLEF. If you are not the named recipient, please contact the sender and delete the e-mail from your system.

RFL is a trading name of The Rugby Football League Limited. This message and any attachments are strictly confidential and may contain legally privileged information.The contents of the transmission are intended for the named addressee(s) only. If you are not the addressee please do not read, print, store or re-transmit it or any attachments to it.Instead, please email it back to the sender and then immediately permanently delete it from your system. The views or opinions presented here are solely of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Rugby Football League Limited.The Rugby Football League Limited is not bound by any contract or obligation created by this e-mail and excludes all liability to you or any third party in respect of its contents (to the maximum extent permitted by the law). The Rugby Football League Limited is a company registered in England with company number 3845473. The Registered Office is Red Hall, Red Hall Lane, Leeds LS17 8NB. VAT No. 168 8110 49.The Rugby Football League Limited also acts on behalf of Super League (Europe) Ltd, a company registered in England with company number 3238540. The Registered Office is Red Hall, Red Hall Lane, Leeds LS17 8NB. VAT No. 698 6526 64. UIT42524252
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Christmas news and messages from around the Rugby League World

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Message from Nigel Wood, Chairman of RLIF

It has been a significant year for international rugby league, one that has seen considerable progress; providing a base for genuine, sustainable development.

Papua New Guinea was confirmed as joint-hosts of the next World Cup in 2017, which Tonga, Lebanon and the United States have qualified for; many congratulations to them.

Perfectly set up for next year, is the prospect of European Qualifiers for the tournament, where six nations will battle it out for the final three places, with Serbia having won European Championship B and Spain illustrating the continued steps being taken in the continent by continuing their remarkable journey, which – like Malta – has seen them rise up five places in the newly-published World Rankings.

They are headed by New Zealand, the first nation other than Australia to hold the top spot, which sets up next autumn’s Four Nations tournament where anyone of three – the Kiwis, Kangaroos and England – can claim the mantle.

Having our first-ever CEO, David Collier, in place has meant that we have moved considerably closer to a unified and extended, long-term international calendar as part of our vision document which was published in November, setting out our aims and objectives.

The targets set in it, in terms of increasing participation, profile and formats are testing but, we believe, achievable.

There is potential growth in all corners of the globe, with increasing interest in South America and the Far East and we are putting together the necessary resources to properly service this increased desire to play, coach, officiate, spectate and become involved in rugby league.

These are exciting times and I wish you compliments of the season, together with a fulfilling and productive New Year.

Thank you for your continued support.

Message from RLIF, Chief Executive Officer, David Collier OBE

Christmas Greeting from David Collier It is now almost 9 months since I was appointed as the first ever Chief Executive Officer for the RLIF. In that time I have been faced with the expected issues such as the creation of a regular international calendar, harmonisation of rules, eligibility and international development. I have also met the unexpected challenges of Rugby League activists being jailed and the occasional battles that the sport faces in order to gain full recognition in certain parts of the world. However, I did manage to undertake the consultion and research which has produced our long-term strategy

I am always keen to focus on the positive future that faces international Rugby League and there have been some significant events and milestones

The RLIF strategy for 2018 – 2025, entitled Global Conversion, was successfully launched and well received at the Paris Congress in November . It provides the road map for the development of our sport throughout the next 8 year cycle and defines where we wish our sport to be at the end of that cycle.

The targets are challenging but the recent growth of the sport and the excellence of our recent global events and the 2017 qualifying events provides a solid foundation to reach those goals

I am inspired by the enthusiasm of all our members and followers which demonstrates that the sport not only has a proud history but an exciting future and RLIF looks forward to leading that growth in the years to come.

Below you will find some further news and greetings from colleagues across the Rugby League World, I am sure that you will find them inspiring and up-lifting

On behalf of the RLIF I wish you every happiness and success in 2016 and I look forward to another great year for Rugby League

RLWC2017

Rohan Sawyer bring us up-to date with preparations for the next Rugby League World Cup

Asia Pacific Rugby League

Tas Baitieri outlines a year of significant progress in the Southern Hemisphere

Rugby League European Federation

Danny Kazandjian discusses the record-breaking activity in the RLEF Confederation

From:Media@RLIF.COM

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European Rugby League receives massive financial and support boost

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

FROM: RLEF MEDIA DEPARTMENT

DATE: 23 December, 2015

CONTACT: phil.caplan / +44 7850719412

RLEF RECEIVES MASSIVE FINANCIAL AND SUPPORT BOOST

Rugby league in Europe has received a record-breaking financial boost to end what has been a pioneering season for the sport on the continent.

The RLEF has been awarded a biggest-ever grant of €466.000 from the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme – one of only 22 projects selected for funding from over 330 eligible applications – for a three year scheme which includes 21 nations.

The monies will fund a programme entitled the ‘Training and Education Portal’ (TEP) which will be implemented through six clusters, two of whom will be led by Ukraine and Serbia who will be involved in an RLEF-EU project for the first time, and who have been added due to their expertise in grassroots technical education.

“The European Union has been a critically important partner of the RLEF,” said General Manager Danny Kazandjian. “They have been full-square behind the expansion and progress we have made over the last five years. This new project has the potential to change the face of the sport in Europe and we are incredibly excited to begin implementing it.”

The TEP will see the formation of an RLEF education department which will have the assistance and backing of two of rugby league’s biggest names in its delivery, with Leeds Rhinos being the lead expert partner on coaching and St Helens taking on a similar role for the development of match officials.

The project will also increase the federation’s suite of qualifications from four to ten and sees them registered on the European Qualifications Framework. It will also introduce an e-Learning component and technical portal.

Additional funding is being supplied by the Rugby League International Federation.

“Rugby league in Europe continues to grow rapidly,” continued Kazandjian. “The RLEF is dealing with the fundamental need to ensure its expanding network of members is equipped with knowledgeable and qualified staff able to disseminate the sport’s on-and off-field values and cutting-edge sporting techniques at a high level. We are also ensuring that it is administered by robust, democratic and transparent national governing bodies.”

Previously, the RLEF has won EU grants of €5,000 from the EC mission in the UK in 2010, €80,000 from the Leonardo da Vinci programme in 2011, and a total of €298.000 in 2012-13 from the Sport Unit.

Erasmus+ was launched in January 2015 and is the catch-all programme for youth, education and sport projects.

PHIL CAPLAN

RLEF MEDIA OFFICER

Tel: 07850 719412

E-mail: phil.caplan

Web: http://www.rlef.eu.com

RLEF

20 Fitzroy Square,

London W1T 6EJ

+44 207 121 6526

danny.kazandjian

This e-mail (including any attachments) is intended only for the recipient(s) named above. It may contain confidential or privileged information and should not be read, copied or otherwise used without prior written consent. Statements or opinions may be expressed in this e-mail that are personal to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the RLEF.

The RLEF is not bound by any contract or obligation created by this e-mail and excludes all liability to you or any third party in respect of its contents (to the maximum extent permitted by the law).

It is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that opening this message and/or any of its attachments will not adversely affect its systems. No responsibility is accepted by the RLEF. If you are not the named recipient, please contact the sender and delete the e-mail from your system.

RFL is a trading name of The Rugby Football League Limited. This message and any attachments are strictly confidential and may contain legally privileged information.The contents of the transmission are intended for the named addressee(s) only. If you are not the addressee please do not read, print, store or re-transmit it or any attachments to it.Instead, please email it back to the sender and then immediately permanently delete it from your system. The views or opinions presented here are solely of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Rugby Football League Limited.The Rugby Football League Limited is not bound by any contract or obligation created by this e-mail and excludes all liability to you or any third party in respect of its contents (to the maximum extent permitted by the law). The Rugby Football League Limited is a company registered in England with company number 3845473. The Registered Office is Red Hall, Red Hall Lane, Leeds LS17 8NB. VAT No. 168 8110 49.The Rugby Football League Limited also acts on behalf of Super League (Europe) Ltd, a company registered in England with company number 3238540. The Registered Office is Red Hall, Red Hall Lane, Leeds LS17 8NB. VAT No. 698 6526 64. UIT42524252

Chev Walker testimonial match launched & set to leave legacy in Hunslet community #rugbyleague

CHEV WALKER TESTIMONIAL MATCH – PREVIEW

There will be much more at stake than an 80 minute celebration of one of the game’s top players on Sunday 3rd January, 2016 – the ultimate bragging rights are on the line.

The inaugural ‘State of Hunslet’ will take place at the South Leeds Stadium (kick off 3pm) when Hunslet Club Parkside take on Hunslet Warriors, for the Chev Walker Trophy.

The two clubs, who overlook each other in one of the sport’s biggest rivalries, will meet for the first time in five seasons and, at the jersey presentation at the Hunslet club on Saturday night, feelings were already running high for the eagerly-awaited clash.

Monies raised from this first game will go to former England and Great Britain international Walker’s testimonial fund, the trophy bearing his name then being donated back into the hotbed community to be played for on an annual basis with the two clubs sharing the proceeds.

Walker, who grew up in the area, will don his boots for the final time to play for the Warriors, ending his illustrious career of over 300 games – which included a Grand Final win with Leeds Rhinos in 2004 and victory in the World Club Challenge the following year, along with spells at Hull KR and Bradford, where he is currently assistant coach – where it began.

The self-effacing Walker, can’t wait for the occasion but is keen to stress that it is as much about legacy in the area he is so passionate about, as solo celebration.

“It’s all incredibly humbling and it’s been a wonderful journey on the field but this is as much about what Hunslet means to me and rugby league to Hunslet,” he said as over 200 guests attended the shirt presentation.

“This game is massive and the rivalry within the area is amongst the most passionate I’ve ever come across – it means everything to both clubs,”

Walker is also delighted to have the chance to run out for the final time among so many friends. “I was gutted that my last game was a heavy loss for the Bulls against Hull KR in the Qualifiers last season, so the chance to put right some of those wrongs in this game is a terrific way to close my playing career.

“Having a trophy named after me allows my passion for the game and this area to keep going forward and I’ll always support it as best I can to say thank you.”

Warriors coach is former Castleford star Dean Sampson. “There will be no love lost,” he said at the launch. “Both sides have some cracking players who will hopefully go on to the professional game and this is a real test.

“Now I’ve seen there’s a nice watch up for grabs for the man of the match, I might have to see if there is one game left in me!”

Sampson will be opposed on the touchline by Castleford Tigers hooker and Parkside coach, Paul McShane.

“As long as I’ve been involved with the club, we’ve been pushing for something like this to happen,” he commented.

“Everyone knows each other and the bragging rights are massive. There is some real mileage in playing this game every year, it is something that the community is really looking forward to.”

“Chev’s name is huge in these parts, I went to the same school and he came back to do an assembly and that was so important at the time for me in wanting to be a professional player – rugby gives people hope.”

There is a full day’s entertainment leading up to the match. At 1pm Hunslet Hawks Legends take on the Rugby AM Legends.

Steve Pryce, Jamaine Wray, Mick Coyle, Latham Tawhai, David Plange and Richard Pachnuik have been confirmed for the myrtle and flame, while the likes of Robbie Paul, Keith Senior and Paul Sculthorpe will play for the television all-stars.

At 2.15, potential stars of the future take to the field as Parkside U7’s and U8’s face their Warriors counterparts.

The main game will be refereed by Ben Thaler.

Tickets are priced at £10 for adults and £5 for concessions and can be purchased at www.hunslethawks.co.uk/store/tickets or from the ticket office at South Leeds Stadium.

PHIL CAPLAN

RFL is a trading name of The Rugby Football League Limited. This message and any attachments are strictly confidential and may contain legally privileged information.The contents of the transmission are intended for the named addressee(s) only. If you are not the addressee please do not read, print, store or re-transmit it or any attachments to it.Instead, please email it back to the sender and then immediately permanently delete it from your system. The views or opinions presented here are solely of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Rugby Football League Limited.The Rugby Football League Limited is not bound by any contract or obligation created by this e-mail and excludes all liability to you or any third party in respect of its contents (to the maximum extent permitted by the law). The Rugby Football League Limited is a company registered in England with company number 3845473. The Registered Office is Red Hall, Red Hall Lane, Leeds LS17 8NB. VAT No. 168 8110 49.The Rugby Football League Limited also acts on behalf of Super League (Europe) Ltd, a company registered in England with company number 3238540. The Registered Office is Red Hall, Red Hall Lane, Leeds LS17 8NB. VAT No. 698 6526 64. UIT42524252

Rankings set 2016 to be the biggest year ever for international Rugby League

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The new World Rankings, issued by the Rugby League International Federation, have set up the 2016 international season perfectly.

The Four Nations tournament, to be played in the UK next autumn, will offer England, Australia and New Zealand the opportunity of going in to the 2017 World Cup as the number one ranked nation, a position currently held by the Kiwis.

Among the big movers are two nations who will compete in the 2016 World Cup Qualifiers – Europe; Spain who go up five places to 21 and the winners of European Championship B in 2015, Serbia, who now sit just outside the top ten.

“Serbia’s end of the year ranking tells a story of the seasons behind us,” said SRL vice-president Nebojša Sretenović. “Our squads in 2015 have been almost exclusively drawn from our domestic competition and I congratulate our players and the coaching staff for their results against countries that played in the last World Cup.

“The ranking gives us much motivation going into next year which will be our most important to date.”

Wales move up one place after winning the 2015 European Championship, as do Ireland, while Scandinavian nations Sweden and Denmark both move up two places.

Jamaica also go up two places to 27th after excellent performances in the recent World Cup Qualifiers – Americas, when they narrowly lost to the USA and drew with Canada, who are much higher ranked. The USA stay in 10th place after their recent qualification for RLWC2017.

“We are happy with our performances against the world number 10 and 13 ranked teams in the qualifiers,” said JRL director of rugby Romeo Monteith. “We need an Americas cup to move the sport forward in our region and all the nations, along with the RLIF, are working hard to provide a clear international calendar here.”

The other big movers in the rankings are Malta, who also move up five places.

Full Rankings below and to keep up to date with the 2017 World Cup visit http://www.rlwc2017.com

1 (1) New Zealand

2 (2) Australia

3 (3) England

4 (4) Samoa

5 (5) France

6 (7) Ireland

7 (6) Fiji

8 (9) Wales

9 (8) Scotland

10 (10) USA

11 (14) Serbia

12 (12) Italy

13 (13) Canada

14 (11) PNG

15 (16) Russia

16 (15) Tonga

17 (18) Belgium

18 (23) Malta

19 (19) Germany

20 (20) Lebanon

21 (26) Spain

22 (17) Cook Islands

23 (22) Ukraine

24 (24) Greece

25 (27) Denmark

26 (21) Norway

27 (29) Jamaica

28 (25) Netherlands

29 (31) Sweden

30 (30) Czech Republic

31 (28) South Africa

32 (32) Niue

33 (33) Hungary

34 (34) Latvia

35 (35) Morocco

Note to Editors – The RLIF World Rankings are calculated according to the results in official international matches. They are weighted by:

  • The relative strength of the opponents and the competition
  • The result
  • The score
  • More recent results carry a greater weighting
From:Media@RLIF.COM

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New rugby league club set up in Netherlands

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

FROM: NEDERLANDSE RUGBY LEAGUE BOND

DATE: 13 December, 2015

CONTACT: nederlandrugbyleague

NEW CLUB SET UP IN NETHERLANDS

Over 40 people turned up for the first training session at the latest rugby league club to be set up in the Netherlands.

Harderwijk Dolphins RLFC, initiated by national coach Kane Krlic, welcomed NRLB development officer Jason Bruygoms and recently qualified coaches Thijs van der Zouwen and Ciaran Jaras to run an introductory session which was attended by boys and girls of varying ages.

“We were happily surprised by the turnout where we saw a lot of talent and fanaticism,” said van der Zouwen. “The training session lasted almost two hours and then, to finish off, we played a friendly 30 minute game.

“That’s a significant amount of time for an intensive sport like rugby league but everyone stayed until the end and were all still focused and enthusiastic. We thought it was a great success and from the feedback we received afterwards, so did those who came along!”

More follow up training sessions are now being planned for the 2016 season.

PHIL CAPLAN

RLEF MEDIA OFFICER

Tel: 07850 719412

E-mail: phil.caplan

Web: http://www.rlef.eu.com

RLEF

20 Fitzroy Square,

London W1T 6EJ

+44 207 121 6526

danny.kazandjian

This e-mail (including any attachments) is intended only for the recipient(s) named above. It may contain confidential or privileged information and should not be read, copied or otherwise used without prior written consent. Statements or opinions may be expressed in this e-mail that are personal to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the RLEF.

The RLEF is not bound by any contract or obligation created by this e-mail and excludes all liability to you or any third party in respect of its contents (to the maximum extent permitted by the law).

It is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that opening this message and/or any of its attachments will not adversely affect its systems. No responsibility is accepted by the RLEF. If you are not the named recipient, please contact the sender and delete the e-mail from your system.

RFL is a trading name of The Rugby Football League Limited. This message and any attachments are strictly confidential and may contain legally privileged information.The contents of the transmission are intended for the named addressee(s) only. If you are not the addressee please do not read, print, store or re-transmit it or any attachments to it.Instead, please email it back to the sender and then immediately permanently delete it from your system. The views or opinions presented here are solely of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Rugby Football League Limited.The Rugby Football League Limited is not bound by any contract or obligation created by this e-mail and excludes all liability to you or any third party in respect of its contents (to the maximum extent permitted by the law). The Rugby Football League Limited is a company registered in England with company number 3845473. The Registered Office is Red Hall, Red Hall Lane, Leeds LS17 8NB. VAT No. 168 8110 49.The Rugby Football League Limited also acts on behalf of Super League (Europe) Ltd, a company registered in England with company number 3238540. The Registered Office is Red Hall, Red Hall Lane, Leeds LS17 8NB. VAT No. 698 6526 64. UIT42524252

FIREHOUSE SUBS RLWC QUALIFIERS – AMERICAS: Game 3, USA 34 CANADA 24 – Report

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

FROM: RLEF MEDIA DEPARTMENT

DATE: 13 December, 2015

CONTACT: phil.caplan / +44 7850719412

FIREHOUSE SUBS RLWC QUALIFIERS – AMERICAS: Game 3, USA 34 CANADA 24 – Report

Three tries from Danny Howard and another superb performance by skipper Mark Offerdahl saw the USA become the eleventh nation to qualify for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, after they beat Canada 34-24 in a wonderful winner-takes-all clash against Canada at the Hodges Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida.

The Hawks qualify for their second successive World Cup, after making the quarter finals in 2013, new head coach for the qualifying series, Brian McDermott, ending a sensational season with a further triumph, having taken Leeds Rhinos to a domestic treble.

McDermott switched Los Angeles-born Danny Howard to the second row from centre, where he had played in the narrow win over Jamaica in game one, to team up with brother Steve and it proved to be a masterstroke, as did moving Ryan Burroughs to full back when Corey Makelim was sent off for dissent just after the half hour.

Burrough’s superb linking runs from the back continually pushed Canada back after they threatened to create history by reaching the World Cup for the first time, the Wolverines leading 18-14 at the break, although eventually beaten by eight tries to four.

Hooker Ryley Jacks, who persisted despite injury and also crossed for three tries, and his brother stand off Rhys – along with ‘the Sheriff’ Jamie Kelly – were superb for the visitors, who were looking for their fourth successive win over the Hawks.

But, late on, when chasing the win they needed after drawing with Jamaica, Canada were undone when forcing passes that didn’t go to hand.

“The performance was right up there in terms of courage and determination,” said McDermott. “It wasn’t the flashest performance ever, there were one or two things we needed to be better at, but after having a man sent off at the back end of the first half to then get over a very competitive Canada just shows how much determination and desire the players had.

“I’m immensely proud, we qualified for the World Cup which was the first objective but it’s been a really enjoyable camp for the last two weeks and the players have given absolutely everything.

“Canada are a good team and we were worried at 18-all. They’ve already beaten America twice this year and we were under no illusions how good they were going to be. The whole second half was a real worrying time and they deserve a lot of credit as well.”

In 25 degree temperatures, the first half followed the pattern of the first two qualifiers, with plenty of endeavour on defence, some spilled ball due to over-eagerness and penalties given away at the play-the-ball.

As they had against Jamaica, USA started strongly to take an early lead; Taylor Alley stepping over at the end of the first set of the game, a repeat one, and Taylor Howden – who posed a threat throughout – crossing on the left inside the opening nine minutes, both conversion attempts missed.

Canada hit back well, Rhys Jacks and Steve Piatek combing to put Kelly over, Piatek goaling and the same combination looked to have worked again soon after but the final pass was ruled forward.

The Wolverines did take the lead in controversial fashion in the 32nd minute, Ryley Jacks burrowing over from close in despite Makelim’s protestations that he had got under the ball which resulted in him being marched from the field by official Robert Hicks.

Piatek goaled and the visitors led, but only briefly, Burroughs making a surging run from the back and Danny Howard ploughing over, Howden – one of four kickers used by the Hawks – with the only successful home conversion to make it 14-12.

There was still a sting in the tail to end the half, on the final play, a beautiful chip over by Rhys Jacks bamboozled the home defence, Ryley running on to it to step Burroughs and go over by the posts, Piatek with the extras.

Again the USA began a half strongly when the teams re-emerged, Howden powering over in the corner on a last tackle powerplay after the ball had been switched expertly from left to right, to level.

Steve Howard was held up and Rhys Jacks broke clear in response but his pass only found touch, Kristian Freed then kicking a 40-20 from which Central Florida Warrior Alley bustled his was over for his second score.

Offerdahl made a clearing run but the Canadian defence held but they couldn’t halt Burroughs on a 50 metre charge which set the position for Howard’s second try out wide.

As Canada seemed to tire, Burroughs crossed in the 63rd minute but again the goal was missed that would have given the Hawks a three score lead.

The Wolverines regathered their own short kick off and Ryley Jacks again made them pay from close in, Piatek’s goal from in front making it 30-24.

Alex Boyd was held up as the Canadians looked to level and Roman Lowery diffused a Rhys Jacks kick to the corner as the 12-man Hawks were stretched.

Canada tried a chip over but Rich Henson cleaned up and Burroughs dropped a high kick on the last, but again the USA defence held when the final pass out wide went into touch.

With the last minute approaching, Danny Howard went on a run up the left hand side and forced his way over for the celebrations to begin. Offerdahl took the final conversion attempt from touch, but the ball drifted wide.

“That was the toughest game I’ve ever played,” he said. “To play 50 minutes with 12 men, it was a ridiculous effort from the boys. If we could kick goals it might have been a little bit easier for us! I’m so proud of them, I’ve never been involved in anything like that and now we’ve got 2017 to plan for.

London Bronco Offerdahl added: “I put the victory down to the work we’ve done in the week and the game-plan we had. At times we went away from it and that’s when we started to concede points but when we went back to it everything worked out. We had to dig in – there were forwards playing more minutes than they are used to and wingers having 20 or so scoots for the game.”

Understandably, with what was at stake, there were tears from both sides when the hooter went.

Canada coach Aaron Zimmerle commented: “There were periods in the game where it was our opportunity to take control of the match but credit to America they really stood up.

“Some of their go-to players were able to pull out the big plays when needed, they capitalized well late when we were trying to force the issue and made an error. But, as this whole tournament has showed, every time we’re down and out, we find a way to claw back into the game.”

Canada co-captain Piatek noted: “I would like to congratulate the USA for their victory. We worked very hard and to even be involved in the World Cup qualifiers themselves was a sign of how far we have come. We have four years now to take the sport in Canada to new levels and we’ll be ready to try to qualify again.”

USA 34

Corey Makelim, Taylor Howden, Taylor Alley, Ryan Burroughs, Roman Lowrey, Rich Henson, Matt Walsh, Nick Newlin, Kristian Freed, Mark Offerdahl, Danny Howard, Casey Clark, Steve Howard

Subs (all used): John Purnell, Andrew Kneisly, Sam Carson, Luke Barron

Tries: Alley (2, 53), Howden (9, 44), Howard (36, 58, 79), Burroughs (63)

Goals: Kristian Freed 0/2, Taylor Howden 1/4, Matt Walsh 0/1, Mark Offerdahl 0/1

Sent off: Makelim (32 – dissent)

CANADA 24

Robin Legault, Billy Gemmell, Jonathan Cregg, Rick Schouten, Adam Timler, Ryley Jacks, Steve Piatek, Louis Robinson, Rhys Jacks, Tom Dempsey, Christian Miller, Steve Bouchard, James Kelly

Subs (all used): Matt Wyles, Enoch Wamalwa, Daniel Blasco-Morris, Alex Boyd

Tries: Jamie Kelly (19), Ryley Jacks (32, 40, 66)

Goals: Steve Piatek 4/4

Half time: 14-18

Penalty count: 6-8

Referee: Robert Hicks (England)

PHIL CAPLAN

RLEF MEDIA OFFICER

Tel: 07850 719412

E-mail: phil.caplan

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RLEF

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