Following the success of their meetings in the Rugby League World Qualifiers last season – which saw Brian McDermott’s USA make the finals in 2017 – Canada, Jamaica and United States have unveiled a new tournament, ‘The Rugby League Americas Cup.’
The nations will play the other to determine the champions of the region, at venues in Philadelphia and Toronto.
USARL Chairman Peter Illfield commented: “The previous games between us in the World Cup qualifiers were sensational; we only just beat Jamaica who then held Canada to a draw, with the Wolverines leading us at half time in the decider. Having rivals in such close proximity provides a healthy environment for success, extra motivation for our players, and further expansion of the sport.”
The opening Rugby League Americas Cup clash will see Canada face the Reggae Warriors on 16 July at Levitown, Pennsylvania, USA. The following Saturday night, USARL Hawks play against Jamaica in Conshohocken, Philadelphia, USA. The final match, between Canada and the USA on 24 September at Lamport Stadium, Toronto will also count as the first leg of the Colonial Cup between the old rivals.
The second leg will be in the USA on 1 October.
“This competition is crucial to the development of the game in the region, gaining us increased exposure and credibility,” said Canada captain Steve Piatek. “It will provide a pathway for the athletes being produced by each nation.”
Jamaica head coach Romeo Monteith added: “The Americas Cup will give our players a meaningful international calendar, which we hope will become a regular series.”
RLIF chairman Nigel Wood, who attended the deciding World Cup qualification match in Jacksonville last December, noted: “This is a very significant initiative in the development of our sport internationally. All three nations are to be congratulated for taking the World Cup qualifying process onto the next logical level.
“The introduction of this tournament together with the admission of Toronto Wolfpack club into the Rugby Football League competition structure in 2017 represents a step-change in the position of rugby league in the Americas.”
Rugby League Americas Cup
Canada vs Jamaica – July 16th 3pm (Levitown PA) USA
USA vs Jamaica – July 23rd 7pm (Conshohocken, Philadelphia) USA
Canada vs USA – Sept 24th 7pm (Toronto) Canada