United States national rugby league team

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United States
Badge of United States team
Nickname Tomahawks
Governing body American National Rugby League
Region Americas
Captain Joseph Paulo
RLIF ranking 10th
Colors
First international
 France 31–0 United States 
(Toulouse, France; October 1954)
Biggest win
 Japan 6–78 United States 
(Jacksonville, USA; June 27, 2003)
Biggest defeat
 England 110–0 United States 
(Orlando, USA; 2000)
World Cup
Appearances 1 (first time in 2013)
Best result Quarter-Finals (2013)

The United States national rugby league team, nicknamed the Tomahawks, represents the United States in international rugby league football competitions. The team is controlled by the American National Rugby League (AMNRL) and is overseen by the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF).

The United States competed with little success in some international games during the 1950s, but did not return to consistent competition until 1987. Since the governance of the team was taken over by what is now the AMNRL in 1997, it has competed more regularly in international matches.

History[edit]

American All-Stars[edit]

One of the earliest attempts to introduce rugby league to the United States was in 1953, when Mike Dimitro, a wrestling promoter, was asked to organize a tour of Australasia by an American rugby league team.

The team, known as the American All-Stars, was given a huge schedule that included 26 matches against Australian and New Zealand sides. None of the 22 American players had ever played rugby league prior to this tour, they presented themselves in American football-like attire early on in the tournament. The team only won six games and tied two.

Their second match of the tour, against a Sydney side, drew a crowd of 65,453 to the Sydney Cricket Ground. After a consistent lack of competition, crowds were good but never reached the great height that the match at the SCG did.

The tour did not in turn bring any benefits to American rugby league. However, Mike Dimitro did not give up; he was able to organise two exhibitions against Australia and New Zealand in California that did not turn out to be a big success.

Return of the United States[edit]

2004 USA team shirt

In 1987, the United States played their first international game since 1954 against Canada. They have participated in the World Sevens (1992–1997), Superleague World Nines (1996, 1997), Emerging Nations World Cup (2000) and Victory Cup (2003, 2004) competitions.

In 1997 the team was organized by Super League America, which was succeeded by the American National Rugby League (AMNRL) in 2001. The United States Tomahawks warmed up for the 2000 World Cup with a three-match trip to New South Wales, Australia. On Friday August 11, they took on Forster XIII, drawn from Forster’s two clubs, the Hawks and the Dragons. The Americans were defeated 32–12. They also played the South Sydney Rabbitohs at the old Redfern Oval during Souths' appeal to return to the Australian NRL.

Team badge used until 2010

In 2001, as a response to the September 11 attacks, the AMNRL set up a rugby league match between local USA born players (USA All Stars) and AMNRL players who were born overseas (World Allies All Stars). The match was won by the USA All Stars 27–26. Proceeds from the game were donated to the Red Cross to help with cleanup operations.

Since 2002, the Tomahawks have been playing regular international competition in the United States. In 2002, the United States were defeated by Russia 54–10 in front of over 25,000 spectators in Moscow. In 2004, they shocked the Rugby League world by leading the World Cup and Tri-Nations champions Australia for most of the game. Australia rallied in the last quarter of the game and won 36–24. In 2009 and 2010 the United States hosted other emerging North American teams in the Rugby League Atlantic Cup at Hodges Stadium at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.[1]

In 2011, seven teams in the AMNRL domestic competition broke away to form the USA Rugby League (USARL). The AMNRL denied selection to players affiliated with USARL teams, including players who had been selected for the Tomahawks previously.[2]

2008 and 2013 Rugby League World Cup Qualifying[edit]

In October 2006, The Tomahawks were to participate in a four team Atlantic qualifying pool for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, but South Africa and the West Indies withdrew. As a result, The Atlantic qualifying pool was reduced to a single game between the Tomahawks and Japan. The USA won 54–18. They then played Samoa in the Repechage Semi Final. Samoa won this match 42–10. Despite playing well against Samoa and coming within two games of qualifying for the World Cup, the United States were dropped from 14th down to 15th, when the new world rankings were released after the tournament. The United States began the 2013 World Cup Qualification Atlantic Tournament with a comprehensive 40–4 victory over the South Africa Rhinos in Philadelphia,[3] keeping their chances of qualification for the 2013 World Cup alive. A victory over Jamaica in their final tournament match would ensure their qualification. Coached by Australian Matthew Elliot,[4] The Tomahawks 40–4 victory over Jamaica qualified them for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, their first ever.[5]

2013 World Cup[edit]

The Tomahawks won a warm up against 4th ranked France, defeating them 22–18 in Toulouse making it their best victory to date.[6]

In the tournament proper, they played the Cook Islands and Wales within their group, and then an Inter-group game against Scotland, beating the Cook Islands 32 – 20,[7] Wales 24 – 16,[8] and losing 22 – 8 to Scotland,[9] leaving the USA top of their group and an encouraging quarter-final battle against the worlds best team for the past 50 years in Australia. The Tomahawks have impressed many League fans in this tournament and a good showing against the Australians will go a long way to improving awareness of Rugby League in North America.

Most Notable Recent Squad[edit]

The US national team squad selected for the 2013 World Cup tournament (appearances, and points, apply for after the tournament finished):

Other Nat. Pos. Player Age Caps Pts Club
Australia Fullback Kristian Freed (1987-07-04) 4 July 1987 (age 27) 4 4 Connecticut colors.svg Connecticut Wildcats
Australia Wing Matthew Petersen (1980-03-27) 27 March 1980 (age 34) 8 8 Australian colours.svg Cudgen Hornets
New Zealand Wing Bureta Faraimo (1990-07-16) 16 July 1990 (age 24) 4 4 Mackay Cutters colours.svg Mackay Cutters
United States Wing Taylor Welch (1989-11-01) 1 November 1989 (age 25) 3 4 New York colors.svg New York Raiders
Australia Centre Gabriel Farley (1994-05-01) 1 May 1994 (age 20) 0 0 United States colours.svg Southampton Dragons
Australia Centre Mike Garvey (1988-07-27) 27 July 1988 (age 26) 7 18 Ipswich Colours.svg Ipswich Jets
American Samoa Centre Lelauloto Tagaloa (1986-12-26) 26 December 1986 (age 27) 5 0 United States colours.svg Hawaii Chiefs
American Samoa Stand-off Joseph Paulo (Captain) (1988-01-02) 2 January 1988 (age 26) 8 48 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels
Australia Halfback David Marando (1984-05-02) 2 May 1984 (age 30) 4 6 Australian colours.svg Belrose Eagles
Australia Halfback Craig Priestly (1987-01-08) 8 January 1987 (age 27) 9 36 United States colours.svg Southampton Dragons
Australia Prop Stephen Howard (1987-01-13) 13 January 1987 (age 27) 3 4 Australian colours.svg Tuggeranong Vikings
American Samoa Prop Judah Lavulo (1991-02-01) 1 February 1991 (age 23) 2 0 Australian colours.svg Cabramatta Two Blues
Australia Prop Mark Offerdahl (1987-10-15) 15 October 1987 (age 27) 6 8 Connecticut colors.svg Connecticut Wildcats
American Samoa Prop Junior Paulo (1983-10-08) 8 October 1983 (age 31) 3 0 Parramatta colours.svg Parramatta Eels
New Zealand Prop Les Soloai (1987-02-20) 20 February 1987 (age 27) 3 0 United States colours.svg Utah Avalanche
Tonga Hooker Joel Luani (1992-02-16) 16 February 1992 (age 22) 4 0 Wests Tigers colours.svg Wests Tigers
American Samoa Hooker Tui Samoa (1983-04-29) 29 April 1983 (age 31) 4 8 Redcliffe colours.svg Redcliffe Dolphins
American Samoa Second-row Roman Hifo (1986-04-17) 17 April 1986 (age 28) 3 0 New Zealand colours.svg Mangere East Hawks
Australia Second-row Clint Newton (1981-06-18) 18 June 1981 (age 33) 4 8 Panthers colours.svg Penrith Panthers
New Zealand Second-row Eddy Pettybourne (1988-02-13) 13 February 1988 (age 26) 4 0 Wests Tigers colours.svg Wests Tigers
Australia Second-row Matt Shipway (1985-09-11) 11 September 1985 (age 29) 4 0 Newcastle colours.svg South Newcastle Lions
Australia Lock Daniel Howard (1984-12-13) 13 December 1984 (age 30) 6 8 Australian colours.svg Wentworthville Magpies

Taylor Welch is the only "born and bred" US player in the 2013 USA RLWC squad that is not associated with Australia, New Zealand or Samoa by either nationality, birth, parentage or residency. The remainder of the USA team qualify to play for the Tomahawks due to the parentage, birth and residency eligibility rules. [10]

Notable players that have played for the USA[edit]

USA Representative results[edit]

Official Rankings as of December 2014[11]
Rank Change Team Points
1 Steady  Australia 984.00
2  New Zealand 884.00
3  England 485.00
4 Increase  Samoa 316.00
5 Decrease  France 215.00
6  Fiji 184.00
7 Increase  Ireland 154.00
8  Scotland 123.00
9 Decrease  Wales 122.00
10  United States 119.00
11  Papua New Guinea 112.00
12 Steady  Italy 79.00
13 Increase  Serbia 49.00
14  Canada 49.00
15 Decrease  Russia 45.00
16  Tonga 32.00
17  Cook Islands 31.00
18 Steady  Germany 27.00
19  Norway 22.00
20  Ukraine 21.00
21  Lebanon 19.00
22  Belgium 19.00
23 Increase  Greece 19.00
24 Decrease  Malta 18.00
25 Steady  Netherlands 14.00
26 Increase  Denmark 13.00
27 Decrease  Jamaica 11.00
28 Steady  Spain 9.00
29 Increase  Czech Republic 7.00
30  Sweden 7.00
31 Decrease  South Africa 4.00
32 Increase  Hungary 2.00
33 Decrease  Latvia 0.00
34 Steady  Morocco 0.00


International results[edit]

International Results
Opponent Played Won Drawn Lost % Won Year/s
Total 62 32 0 30 52% 1954-
 Australia 2 0 0 2 0% 2004-2013
 Canada 18 14 0 4 78% 1987-2014
 Cook Islands 2 1 0 1 50% 1995-2013
 England 1 0 0 1 0% 2000
 France 2 1 0 1 50% 1954-2013
 Ireland 1 0 0 1 0% 2004
Republic of Ireland Ireland ‘A’ 8 5 0 3 63% 1995-2012
 Italy 1 0 0 1 0% 2000
Italy Italy ‘A’ 1 0 0 1 0% 2006
 Jamaica 3 3 0 0 100% 2009-2011
 Japan 5 5 0 0 100% 1999-2006
 Lebanon 1 0 0 1 0% 1999
 Morocco 1 1 0 0 100% 2000
New Zealand New Zealand 'A' 1 0 0 1 0% 2002
 Russia 5 0 0 5 0% 1994-2004
 Samoa 2 0 0 2 0% 2007-2013
 Scotland 2 0 0 2 0% 1995-2013
 South Africa 1 1 0 0 100% 2011
Tatarstan Tatarstan 1 0 0 1 0% 2002
 Tonga 1 0 0 1 0% 2012
 Wales 3 1 0 2 33% 1995-2013


World Nines results[edit]

  • Tonga def. USA 26–4 (1997)
  • Fiji def. USA 18–8 (1997)
  • Cook Islands def. USA 24–6 (1997)
  • Papua New Guinea def. USA 38–8 (1997)
  • Western Samoa def. USA 30–10 (1997)
  • Australia def. USA 24–0 (1997)
  • Cook Islands def. USA 22–0 (1996)
  • USA def. Morocco 18–4 (1996)
  • Western Samoa def. USA 14–6 (1996)
  • Australia def. USA 30–16 (1996)
  • Scotland def. USA 12–6 (1996)

World Sevens results[edit]

  • Illawarra def. USA* 18–6 (1997) *unofficial team
  • USA* def. Japan 18–14 (1997) *unofficial team
  • Italy def. USA* 22–0 (1997) *unofficial team
  • Gold Coast def. USA* 40–8 (1996) *unofficial team
  • USA* def. Japan 20–8 (1996) *unofficial team
  • Melbourne def. USA* 18–14 (1996) *unofficial team
  • Australian Aboriginals def. USA* 28–0 (1996) *unofficial team
  • Tonga def. USA 20–4 (1995)
  • USA def. Russia 28–8 (1995)
  • USA def. Italy 22–4 (1995)
  • USA def. Russia 20–6 (1995)
  • Sydney Tigers def. USA 24–10 (1995)
  • South Africa def. USA 20–8 (1994)
  • New Zealand def. USA 20–12 (1994)
  • France def. USA 18–12 (1994)
  • Wainuiomata def. USA 34–8 (1993)
  • South Sydney def. USA 28–6 (1993)
  • Illawarra def. USA 28–4 (1993)
  • Fiji def. USA 30–10 (1992)
  • USA def. CIS Red Arrows 12–8 (1992)
  • South Sydney def. USA 12–0 (1992)
  • Newcastle def. USA 16–0 (1992)

Student results[edit]

  • USA def. Japan 54–10 (1996)
  • Wales def. USA 22–18 (1996)
  • Western Samoa def. USA 82–8 (1996)
  • New Zealand def. USA 62–10 (1996)
  • USA def. Ireland 22–20 (1996)

Other representative results[edit]

  • USA All Stars def. World Allies All Stars 27–26 (2001)
  • Sydney def. USA All Stars 52–25 (1953)

Coaches[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Matthew Wicks (November 20, 2010). "Atlantic Cup Rugby Tournament". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved August 29, 2011. 
  2. ^ A. J. Carr (August 23, 2011). "AJ talks to the USARL key players about risks, challenges and success". a-teamsport.com. Retrieved August 29, 2011. 
  3. ^ "RLEF". Rlef.eu.com. October 15, 2011. Retrieved December 10, 2011. 
  4. ^ Press Association (October 24, 2011). "USA beat Jamaica to secure 2013 Rugby League World Cup berth". The Guardian. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  5. ^ Paul, Burrowes (October 28, 2011). "Rugby players encouraged despite whipping by USA". Jamaica Observer. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  6. ^ Andy Wilson. "Rugby League World Cup 2013: USA shock France in warm-up | Sport". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  7. ^ 22:24 GMT (2013-10-30). "BBC Sport - Rugby League World Cup: USA 32-20 Cook Islands". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  8. ^ Williams, Aled (2013-11-03). "BBC Sport - Rugby League World Cup 2013: United States shock Wales". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  9. ^ Cartwright, Phil (2013-11-07). "BBC Sport - Rugby League World Cup 2013: Scotland 22-8 USA". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  10. ^ Huw Richards (November 29, 2013). "New Zealand Faces Australia in Rugby League Cup Final". nytimes.com. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  11. ^ [1]; RLIF Rankings

External links[edit]

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