Jamaica has released the names of a 53-man train-on squad for the Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers – Americas against USA and Canada in Florida next month. Twelve of them play in the Championship or League 1 in the UK, including Batley pair Alex Brown and Wayne Rettie along with Sheffield’s Corey Hanson, Bradford winger Omari Caro and Keighley’s Jode Sheriffe.
Head Coach Romeo Monteith believes the players selected have the right blend of experience, enthusiasm and commitment to compete, and the numbers show how the sport is taking hold in the Caribbean.
“We have players who understand each other because they have been together in prior national teams since 2011,” he said. “And we are depending on our senior players to step up and guide any new additions to the group and display the type of bravery and discipline needed to compete against stronger opposition.”
Monteith added: “The key word in our camp right now is pride, in the way we train and play, and by the time the final 20 is named we hope to have a solid set of guys willing to lay it all on the line for Jamaica. The size of the initial squad means that we have flexibility and can cover any eventuality.
“We have several key players going in for US visas and there is never a guarantee at the Embassy. We need cover in case applications are denied and for the possibility of injuries and work places pulling prior approval for players to go on tour. All these issues have previously affected us.”