USARL chairman, Peter Illfield, who is also US Hawks coach for the two-game Colonial Cup series, is confident that, despite their first game defeat to Canada the national side are making progress.
Illfield will hand over the reins to Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott for the up-coming Firehouse Subs Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers – Americas in December.
One of USA, Canada or Jamaica will qualify for the 2017 World Cup, the Hawks looking to emulate the side from the 2013 global tournament that, against the odds, made the quarter finals.
“We will need to step up again if we are going to qualify for our second consecutive World Cup,” said Illfield. “We are only too aware of the improvements that need to be made in just over a month.
“Encouragingly, our forwards responding positively to the challenges set by the coaching staff after game one against Canada, showing greater penetration in attack and the back three outside backs scored all 28 of the teams’ points.”
Illfield added: “Heritage players from Australia have shown an interest and will add some expertise and skill to the squad. English Super League Champions and treble-winning Leeds coach, Brian McDermott, will raise the bar when he takes over coaching responsibilities, which will provide a far more consistent and intense preparation.
“McDermott’s experience will be vital not only for the World Cup Qualifiers, but will be crucial in the development of rugby league in the US. He will be holding a coaching clinic and the Hawks players can transfer the new knowledge gained to their USARL teammates prior to the 2016 season.”
The USA Hawks will play their first match against Jamaica on the 4th of December and will follow it up against Canada on the 12th with both game to be played at Hodges Stadium, Jacksonville.