McDermott backs USA to take Australia’s place

Former Leeds Rhinos and Toronto Wolfpack coach Brian McDermott has backed the United States to come to the Rugby League World Cup this year to replace Australia or New Zealand.

McDermott, a former coach of the USA who took them to the World Cup in 2017, is hoping that the tournament will go ahead and that, if it does, the USA Hawks will receive an invitation to compete.

“What I don’t want to do is criticise the NRL clubs for wanting to protect their greatest assets, the players,” McDermott, who is now a coaching consultant at Oldham, told League Express.

“They have taken a decision not to come to this country and they have clearly been influenced by the statistics on Covid infections over here.

“Nonetheless, Rugby League is a resilient, even defiant sport, as we’ve shown many times in the past, and I would hope we would continue to show that spirit.

“If they were to participate, the Americans would bring some great athletes here, even if they lacked the Rugby League experience of some other countries.

“Sean Rutgerson is now the national coach, while I still have a consultancy role with the Americans.

“They would obviously need some help and understanding if they were to join the tournament, but with goodwill on all sides I’m sure they would make a viable contribution while increasing the international footprint of the tournament.”

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