United States national rugby league team

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United States
Badge of United States team
Team information
Nickname Hawks
Governing body USA Rugby League
Region Americas
Head coach Brian McDermott
Home stadium Hodges Stadium
RLIF ranking 14th
First colours
Team results
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 2 (first time in 2013)
Best result Quarter-Finals (2013)

The United States national rugby league team, nicknamed the Hawks,[1] represents the United States in international rugby league football competitions. The team is controlled by the USA Rugby League (USARL) 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. With the establishment of the American National Rugby League (AMNRL) in 1997, the team, nicknamed the Tomahawks, began to participate in more regular international competition, reaching the quarterfinals of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. In 2014, the USARL became the national governing body for rugby league in the U.S.


Early years[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.


In 1987, the United States played their first international game since 1954 against Canada. They have participated in the World Sevens (1992–1997), Super League 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.


2004 USA team shirt
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 5,000 spectators in Moscow.

On December 1, 2004, the Tomahawks played their first ever international game against the Australian Kangaroos, the reigning Rugby League World Cup champions and who only 4 days earlier had won the 2004 Rugby League Tri-Nations Final 44-4 over the Great Britain Lions in Leeds, England. The game, known as the Liberty Bell Cup was played at Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania and was played on a grid iron size synthetic field (Fox Sports Australia commentators Warren Smith and former Australian captain Laurie Daley reported that the Kangaroos were not too enthused about playing on the synthetic turf). It was also played in 20 minute quarters rather than the normal 40 minute halves. The Tomahawks shocked the rugby league world by quickly racing to a 12-0 lead in the first quarter while the World Champions were making simple mistakes and bombed numerous try scoring opportunities. A third converted try just 4 minutes into the 2nd quarter saw Americans lead by the unbelievable score of 18-0 until replacement forward Petero Civoniceva sent fullback Matthew Bowen on a 60-metre run to score under the posts with 5 minutes remaining in the first half. However, a fourth converted try saw the home side lead by the World Champions 24-6 at half time. The Americans actually led for most of the game until the Kangaroos' superior fitness saw them rally in the last quarter of the game to win 36–24. Although they lost the game, many consider this to be the American's finest moment in international rugby league competition.

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 place when the new world rankings were released after the tournament.

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.[2]


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.[3]

The United States began the 2013 World Cup Qualification Atlantic Tournament with a comprehensive 40–4 victory over the South Africa Rhinos in Philadelphia,[4] 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,[5] the Tomahawks' 40–4 victory over Jamaica qualified them for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, their first ever.[6]

The Tomahawks won a warm-up match against 4th-ranked France, defeating them 22–18 in Toulouse in the USA's best victory to date.[7]

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 32–0[8] and Wales 24–16,[9] and losing 22–8 to Scotland.[10] As group winners, USA faced Australia in the quarter-finals, losing 62-0 to be eliminated from the tournament.

Following the World Cup, the national team was put on hiatus while the governance dispute between the AMNRL and the USA Rugby League was resolved. The team subsequently lost the right to automatic qualification for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. In November 2014, stewardship of the national team was transferred to the USARL, and the team was rebranded from Tomahawks to Hawks.[11] Brian McDermott was subsequently appointed head coach[12] and his first job was to help the USA re-secure the World Cup qualification that they first won four years earlier. The team performed the qualification tournament, held in the US, in December 2015. The team qualified for their second consecutive World Cup after winning both their matches.

The United States kicked off their Rugby League World Cup 2017 campaign against Fiji in Townsville and lost the match 58-12. In the following two pool matches they were thumped 46-0 by Italy and lost 64-0 in their final pool game against Papua New Guinea. [13][14]

Tournament history[edit]

Rugby League World Cup[edit]

Rugby League World Cup Record
Year Result Position Pld W D L PF PA
France 1954 Did not participate
Australia 1957
England 1960
Australia New Zealand 1968
England 1970
France 1972
Australia New Zealand 1977
England 1995
United Kingdom France 2000
Australia 2008 Did not qualify
England Wales 2013 Quarter final 5th 4 2 0 2 64 122
Australia New Zealand Papua New Guinea 2017 Group Stage 14th 3 0 0 3 12 168
Quarter Finals 2/14 7 2 0 5 76 290


For all past and present players who have appeared for the national team, see United States national rugby league team players.

Current squad[edit]

The following players have been named to represent the United States Hawks at the 2017 World Cup.[15] Nine members of the squad (Faraimo, Farley, Freed, both Howard brothers, Marando, Offerdahl, Pettybourne, and Shipway) previously represented the Tomahawks at the 2013 World Cup. Caps apply to before the tournament began. Tui Samoa was called in to the squad for the first round to replace the injured Matt Walsh.

Nat. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Pts Club
United States Centre Alley, TaylorTaylor Alley (1989-08-09) August 9, 1989 (age 28) United States colours.svg Central Florida Warriors
United States Wing Burroughs, RyanRyan Burroughs (1991-08-26) August 26, 1991 (age 26) 4 16 New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg Toronto Wolfpack
United States Hooker Cortalano, Charles "CJ"Charles "CJ" Cortalano (1982-06-26) June 26, 1982 (age 35) United States colours.svg White Plains Wombats
United States Second-row Eichner, JoeJoe Eichner (1991-10-09) October 9, 1991 (age 26) 4 0 New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg Toronto Wolfpack
New Zealand Wing Faraimo, BuretaBureta Faraimo (1990-07-16) July 16, 1990 (age 27) 5 18 New Zealand colours.svg Hull FC
Fullback Farley, GabrielGabriel Farley (1994-05-01) May 1, 1994 (age 23) United States colours.svg Philadelphia Fight
Hooker Freed, KristianKristian Freed (1987-07-04) July 4, 1987 (age 30) United States colours.svg White Plains Wombats
United States Lock Howard, DanielDaniel Howard (1984-12-13) December 13, 1984 (age 33) Western Suburbs colours.svg Wentworthville Magpies
United States Prop Howard, StephenStephen Howard (1987-01-13) January 13, 1987 (age 31) Wellington colours.svg Mount Prichard Mounties
United States Wing Johnston, MartwainMartwain Johnston (1986-02-28) February 28, 1986 (age 31) United States colours.svg Delaware Black Foxes
United States Prop Kneisly, AndrewAndrew Kneisly (1983-08-23) August 23, 1983 (age 34) United States colours.svg Philadelphia Fight
Australia Fullback Makelim, CoreyCorey Makelim (1994-01-06) January 6, 1994 (age 24) 2 4 Wellington colours.svg Mount Prichard Mounties
United States Second-row Malu, FotukavaFotukava Malu United States colours.svg Atlanta Rhinos
Australia Halfback Marando, DavidDavid Marando (1984-05-02) May 2, 1984 (age 33) Australian colours.svg Belrose Eagles
United States Prop Newlin, NickNick Newlin 8 8 United States colours.svg Atlanta Rhinos
Australia Prop Offerdahl, MarkMark Offerdahl (1987-10-15) October 15, 1987 (age 30) 8 12 Sheffeagles colours.svg Sheffield Eagles
New Zealand Second-row Pettybourne, EddyEddy Pettybourne (1988-02-13) February 13, 1988 (age 29) 4 0 ToulouseRLcolours.PNG Toulouse Olympique
United States Prop Rice, JoshJosh Rice United States colours.svg New York Knights
Australia Second-row Shipway, MattMatt Shipway (1985-09-11) September 11, 1985 (age 32) 4 0 Australian colours.svg South Newcastle Lions
Second-row Tochterman-Talbott, SamuelSamuel Tochterman-Talbott Western Suburbs colours.svg Tweed Heads Seagulls
United States Lock Ulch, DavidDavid Ulch United States colours.svg Tampa Mayhem
New Zealand Centre Vaivai, Taioalo "Junior"Taioalo "Junior" Vaivai (1990-01-18) January 18, 1990 (age 28) 5 58 Australian colours.svg Western Suburbs Red Devils
Halfback Walsh, MattMatt Walsh United States colours.svg White Plains Wombats


For all past and present coaches for the national team, see United States national rugby league team coaches.


Official Rankings as of December 2017
Rank Change Team Points
1 Same position  Australia
2  New Zealand
3  England
4 Rise  Tonga
5  Fiji
6 Fall  Samoa
7  Scotland
8  France
9 Rise  Lebanon
10  Papua New Guinea
11 Fall  Ireland
12  Wales
13  Italy
14  United States
15  Jamaica
16  Serbia
17  Canada
18  Malta
19 Same position  Russia
20  Belgium
21  Spain
22  Norway
23  Greece
24 Rise  Philippines
25 Same position  Ukraine
26  Czech Republic
27  Netherlands
28  Germany
29  Hungary
30 Fall  Cook Islands
31  Sweden
32 Rise  Chile
33 Fall  Niue
34  Denmark
35  South Africa
36  Vanuatu
37 Rise  El Salvador
38 Fall  Thailand
39 New entry  Argentina
40  Colombia
41  Japan
42 Fall  Solomon Islands
43 New entry  Brazil
44 Fall  Uruguay
45 New entry  Hong Kong
46 Fall  Bulgaria
47  Latvia
48  Morocco

Below is table of the official representative rugby league matches played by the United States at test level up until 9 August 2014:

International Results
Opponent Pld W D L

 Australia 2 0 0 2
 Canada 25 18 0 7
 Cook Islands 2 1 0 1
 England 1 0 0 1
 France 2 1 0 1
 Ireland 1 0 0 1
Ireland Ireland A 8 5 0 3
 Italy 2 0 0 2
 Jamaica 5 5 0 0
 Japan 5 5 0 0
 Lebanon 2 0 0 2
 Māori 1 0 0 1
 Morocco 1 1 0 0
 New Zealand 1 0 0 1
 Russia 5 0 0 5
 Samoa 1 0 0 1
 Scotland 2 0 0 2
 South Africa 1 1 0 0
 Tonga 1 0 0 1
 Wales 3 1 0 2

Results and fixtures[edit]

For all past match results, see the team's United States national rugby league team results.

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)


  1. ^ http://www.usarl.com/2015/05/hawks-swoop-in-for-new-usa-national-team-name/
  2. ^ Matthew Wicks (November 20, 2010). "Atlantic Cup Rugby Tournament". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved August 29, 2011. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ "RLEF". Rlef.eu.com. October 15, 2011. Retrieved December 10, 2011. 
  5. ^ Press Association (October 24, 2011). "USA beat Jamaica to secure 2013 Rugby League World Cup berth". The Guardian. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  6. ^ Paul, Burrowes (October 28, 2011). "Rugby players encouraged despite whipping by USA". Jamaica Observer. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  7. ^ Andy Wilson. "Rugby League World Cup 2013: USA shock France in warm-up | Sport". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  8. ^ GMT (2013-10-30). "BBC Sport - Rugby League World Cup: USA 32-20 Cook Islands". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  9. ^ Williams, Aled (2013-11-03). "BBC Sport - Rugby League World Cup 2013: United States shock Wales". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  10. ^ Cartwright, Phil (2013-11-07). "BBC Sport - Rugby League World Cup 2013: Scotland 22-8 USA". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  11. ^ Hawks swoop in for new USA National Team Name
  12. ^ Brian McDermott to coach USA Hawks
  13. ^ https://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/world-cup/rlwc-2017-papua-new-guinea-kumuls-v-usa-hawks-score-updates-result-blog/news-story/a567ba3c1342c1f358124d0a8d8138d7
  14. ^ https://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/world-cup/rlwc-2017-italy-v-usa-score-updates-result-news-blog/news-story/3c153bac62f49ea05b435ea9b521ce4d
  15. ^ "Team USA". RLWC2017.com. 24 September 2017. Retrieved 25 September 2017. 

External links[edit]