USA Rugby League

Photo Credit: Carolyn Ritchie

The head coaches of rivals the US and Canada are looking ahead to their international game in Las Vegas next month as a good opportunity to make some waves on the North American sporting landscape.

The USA Hawks and Canada Wolverines will renew their rivalry on March 1st in the lead up to the NRL 2024 season-opening doubleheader at Allegiant Stadium.

Canada’s head coach Aaron Zimmerle says the game can’t come fast enough.

“We are extremely excited for the week of rugby league in Vegas, as it allows us to showcase our great game on one of the biggest of stages in Las Vegas,” Zimmerle tells Rugby League Planet.

“With the Wolverines and Hawks doing battle on the Friday before the NRL Rd 1 on the Saturday, it allows North America to showcase the budding potential of their very own players.

“We have selected a domestic squad who have earned their spots through their performances in our national Origin game of East vs West last year.

“Those eligible players along with the best performers from the Toronto Wolfpack make up the 18-man Wolverine squad that will do battle with the USA Hawks. 10 players are returning from the Wolverines’ win over the Hawks in 2022 along with eight players who will be making their Wolverines debut.

“We look forward to showcasing our program, our players and doing our part in helping to grow the game in Canada and the USA.”

US head coach Sean Rutgerson says he’s champing at the bit for the Hawks to have another crack at their main rivals.

“Can’t wait to play Canada again after a poor performance last outing against them,” he says.

“We really want to show what we can do in Las Vegas.

“Hopefully it will be in front of a big home crowd and hopefully we’ll get lots of exposure to help the game grow.”

The Wolverines’ last match was in November 2022 when they beat the Hawks 22-10 in Tampa, Florida, while the Hawks edged Jamaica 30-26 in their most recent match which was last month in Kingston.

This Vegas game is set for the night of Friday, March 1, at the Ed W Clark high school.

The NRL is hoping for a good crowd for its doubleheader at Allegiant Stadium given that the games have been deliberately scheduled after the NFL Super Bowl and before the start of the new United Football League (UFL) season in the northern spring.

Brian is a strong and effective communicator with more than 30 years’ experience in broadcast and electronic media. He has been writing for Rugby League Planet since 2012 and is frequently the first reporter to break news stories about the sport. He has been our North American correspondent reporting on news in the US, Canada and Jamaica covering everything from league standings to strategy analysis to breaking news on key trades to editorials and colourful features on athletes. He is now writing about rugby league on a broader scale to cover developments around the globe. An accomplished storyteller, Brian started his career in Australian radio, before moving to the United States. He is an experienced podcast host and producer and is also a successful TV commentator having done play-by-play and analysis for ESPN, FOX Sports and the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) among others. Brian has his own YouTube channel @brianlowe5567 where he posts his interviews for Rugby League Planet. Be sure to check it out and subscribe.