USA and Canada meet again on Saturday evening (1 October) at Eden Park in Wilmington to see who will claim the 2016 Colonial Cup. The Americans narrowly won the first leg, 14-8 in Toronto last weekend, coming from 8-0 down to secure victory in the last minute, which also saw them clinch the inaugural Americas Championship.
Hawks coach, Dustin Cooper said: “I was very proud of the boys’ effort. We expected a tough arm wrestle on foreign soil and that’s exactly what we got. We created plenty of opportunities but just couldn’t capitalise. To Canada’s credit, their ruck control and goal line defence was on point. The boys regrouped, did exactly what I asked of them in the second half and, as a result, we were able to play fast and direct and get points on the board.”
The Wolverines have won the Colonial Cup for the past two seasons and are desperate to keep hold of it.
Their head coach, Jamie Lester, noted: “It was a really tough loss. I thought we had done enough to get a win when we went 8-0 up with 15 minutes to go given the context of the match. But I have been around long enough to know that in rugby league that is a long time and unfortunately for us we weren’t good enough to close the game out.
“Last year we let USA back into the game in similar situations so we need to learn from these experiences. This week will be an even bigger challenge for us down in Delaware. We will need to lift a couple of notches to take the Colonial Cup series.”
In game one, Canada led 4-0 at half time thanks to a try from Akarika Dawn and it took until the 65th minute for there to be a further score, Wolverine winger Kevin Gurniak taking advantage of prop Alex Boyd’s 40 metre break from a kick chargedown.
But the visitors remained resolute and with Junior Vaivai in fine form, full-back Roman Lowrey hit back immediately and Gabriel Farley then went over to level, all the conversion attempts being missed.
The contest was settled in the closing exchanges, Hawks winger Jon St John getting away for the clinching score which Vaivai goaled.