By Brian Lowe, Date: 30/9/13
TORONTO, Ont. – (September 29, 2013) – The USA Tomahawks have scored a 30-22 come-from-behind victory over Canada in the series finale to clinch the 2013 Colonial Cup.
The US had to fight back from an early 10-point deficit in front of a vocal home crowd at Lamport Stadium in Toronto to retain the Cup.
“I am super proud of the boys’ professional effort and determination to win the final three games after taking a hit in the first game,” said Tomahawks coach Ben Kelly.
“Next step is locking down the 24 players that will represent Team USA next month in England, a very tough ask.”
The Canadians got off to a flying start scoring two tries in the opening ten minutes to take a 10-0 lead, but it was short-lived as the US answered right back with two scores of their own, the second by Craig Priestly, to lock things up at 10-10.
The tempo and intensity lifted with the Wolverines knowing they needed to win by 21 points in order to take the Cup. As a result, tempers frayed and both teams were given a stern dressing down by the referee.
The players then settled and got back to the task at hand with both teams trading tries to go to the main intermission tied at 14-14.
The second half opened much like the first forty had closed with sparkling offense causing equally stellar defense on both sides of the ball.
Canada edged in front 16-14 courtesy of a Jamie Beaton penalty goal, but a converted try by Gareth Gibbs minutes later saw the USA regain the lead at 20-16. Another try to the Tomahawks saw them extend the lead to 24-16 and the Canadians knew it was all or nothing from that point.
Cross-border rivalry between the two North American neighbors covers the sporting gamut, rugby league being no exception, and again frustrations boiled over forcing the referee to intervene.
As the clock started to wind down, Canada’s Brett King scored and with Beaton’s conversion, the Tomahawks’ lead was cut to 24-22.
The Wolverines threw everything at the US as they desperately tried to get into the try zone for the W, but the Tomahawks’ D was up to the job and with time nearly expired, US five-eighth Brent Shorten cut loose and sealed the deal for the visitors with a late try. The extra points were good and the final scoreline read 30-22 to the US.
“The Canada Wolverines are coming on in leaps and bounds and the future looks bright for Rugby League in North America,” said Coach Kelly.
“The set up in Toronto is super solid and very impressive, and along with Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Boston and New York running great programs, I see no reason why we can’t take the great game of Rugby League to a Super League situation in 2014 and beyond.”
The USA took this year’s series three games to one, posting a 122-94 overall aggregate points advantage.
The game was the final hitout for the Americans before a Tomahawks squad is selected for the Rugby League World Cup. That squad will have a RLWC warm-up match against France in Toulouse on October 18.
USA TOMAHAWKS 2013 Schedule:
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)