24 Sep 2016

The inaugural Americas Championship will be decided later today (Saturday) when Canada face USA at the Lamport Stadium, Toronto (kick off 7pm). Both nations have defeated Jamaica to set up the winner-takes-all clash, the match also being the first-leg of the Colonial Cup, a tournament that continues to build tradition and measures the progress of both growing rugby league nations.

This year marks the seventh occasion the two teams will battle for that silverware, with Canada defeating the USA in both games in 2015 to hold the trophy. The second leg is on 1 October at Eden Park in Wilmington.

Canadian RL president Paul O’Keefe commented: “This is the first time Canada has played USA on home soil for two years and we can’t wait, we are promoting the match under the slogan "double the importance." As well as the rivalry and the USA preparing for the 2017 World Cup, RLIF Ranking points are also on the line. We are also working together on the 2021 World Cup bid, so these are extremely exciting times for both nations.”

The bulk of the Wolverines squad comes from Ontario.

Hawks head coach for these games Dustin Cooper noted: “We are a more composed team with a clearer sense of direction than in 2015. Most of the squad have a number of international games under their belt now so they know what's expected of them individually and as a team.”

For the visitors, who include selections from 10 domestic clubs, Junior Vaivai returns partnering Matt Walsh in the halves. Taylor Howden, who featured heavily in the 2015 Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers Americas, re-joins and several newcomers are included all looking to impress leading up to the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Colbey Franko, Lawrence Ross, Evan Thomas (Alberta Broncos), Alex Boyd, Kevin Gurniak, Joel Hulett, Shaun McKenzie, Rick Shouten, (BC Bulldogs) Eddie Bilborough, Akarika Dawn, Cam Grace, Alan Lafferty, Robin Legault, Denny McCarthy, Christian Miller, Eric Moyer, Danny Tupou, Matt Wyles (c) (Ontario)

Nick Newlin (c) (Atlanta Rhinos), Craig MacKenzie (Boston 13s), Bart Longchamp, Taylor Alley (Central Florida Warriors) Junior Vaivai (Illawarra Devils) Joe Eichner, Jon Purnell (Jacksonville Axemen) Gabriel Farley (Lindenwood University) CJ Cortalano, Josh Rice (New York Knights), Taylor Howden (Ohio Rugby) Casey Clarke, Rich Henson, Andrew Kneisly, Roman Lowery, Zach Reichenbach  (Philadelphia Fight) Jon St John (Tampa Mayhem) Luke Barron, Matt Walsh (White Plains Wombats)