By Brian Lowe, Date: 8/7/13

The USA has had a rough start to its buildup to RLWC2013 with a 36-20 come-from-behind defeat by archrivals Canada in the opening game of the 2013 Colonial Cup series in Toronto.

The #12 Tomahawks were outscored seven tries to four by the #19 Wolverines under lights at Lamport Stadium.

The US started fast out of the blocks and took the early ascendancy. The Tomahawks maintained the lead until the final 20 minutes of the contest, from where they were eventually run down by a fast-finishing home team in front of an appreciative crowd estimated at around six thousand.

The USA was without regular captain Apple Pope, who’s recovering from a broken hand. Matt Walsh stood in as skipper.

“We started off the way we wanted to play dominating the first half through our ball control,” said Walsh.

“In the second half we were out enthused, they were hungrier and capitalized on our mistakes. We had a good completion rate in the first half, but our mistakes in the second half laid the platform for their comeback.”

The Tomahawks fielded a domestic-based lineup in order to give the national team’s coaching staff a look at US-based players with a view to filling spots in the 24-man squad for the World Cup in October.

Coach Marcus Vassilakopoulos said there were both positive and negative aspects of the Americans’ game.

“We played well in the first half, controlled the ball well, quick play the balls and line speed was good,” said Coach Vassilakopoulos.

“We came out in the second half and slowly we started to lose control of what we were doing. We turned the ball over, markers were poor, line speed dropped off and our discipline was poor.

“Full credit to Canada, they have improved year to year and fully deserved the win. They wanted to win more and fed off the energy of the crowd which was very loud and proud to be Canadian.”

The win was just the second for Canada in seven matchups against the USA since 2010 and gives the Wolverines a 1-0 lead in the three-game series.

The second match of the series is scheduled to be played in Philadelphia on August 24.

USA 20
Tries: Ben Sadgrove, Craig Priestly, Mike Schacter, Taylor Welch

Goals: Priestly 2/4

Canada 36
Tries: Tony Felix(2), Joe Bangay, Geoff Bylund, Christian Miller, Robin Legault, Adam Timler

Goals: Steve Piatek 4/7

Referee: Paul Byrne

1. Kristian Freed, 2. Taylor Welch, 3. Akarika Dawn, 4. Vai Notoa, 5. Dennis Schmeiler, 6. Matt Walsh (Capt), 7. Damien O’Malveney, 8. Bryan Confer, 9. Craig Priestly, 10. Curtis Cunz, 11. Ben Sadgrove, 12. Salesi Tongamoa, 13. Andrew Kneisly
14. Pete Jordan, 15. Mike Schacter, 16. Mike Cartwright, 17. Justin Ripley

Robin Legault, Tony Felix, Adam Timler, Christian Miller, Brett King, Matt Wyles (Capt), Steve Piatek, Eric Moyer, Graham Dobbs, Rob Autagavaia, Trent Hansen, Henry Miers, Cam Grace, Joe Bangay, Geoff Bylund, Craig Leveridge, Enoch Wamalwa
Lucas Silver, Kenn Waring

USA TOMAHAWKS 2013 Schedule:
USA v Canada (Colonial Cup, Philadelphia, August 24)
USA v Canada (Colonial Cup, Toronto, September 21)
USA v France (Toulouse, October 18)
USA v Cook Islands (RLWC2013, Bristol, October 30)
USA v Wales (RLWC2013, Wrexham, November 3)
USA v Scotland (RLWC2013, Salford City, November 7)