Last weekends International between Canada and Jamaica saw the Wolverines create history and win their first ever international. After the match I was able to catch up with some of the players and support staff of the two team. First up, Canada, where I talked with Eric Perez, Corey Tukeli and Louis Robinson. They talk about not only the match but also the domestic set up in Canada.
Rugby League International Scores: I am here with Eric Perez, the Chairman od Canadian Rugby League, Eric compared to what you had last year in the Atlantic Cup, where you guy’s came down in the last minute, this has been an unbelievable performance.
Eric Perez: Yeah absolutely! The coaching staff have put in a lot of work, Jamie Lester, Richie Moore, everyone has put in tones of work. We have some unbelievable players here, chock full of Canadians and we are really proud of this first win. An amazing day.
RLIS: Now the second half was a lot scrappier than the second half, what do you think brought that on, the first half was fairly clean?
EP: Yep, you know its oppressive heat out here, it feels like 40 degrees, which is above 31 degrees Celsius for all you Celsius people out there and that started to take its toll on the team started to get a little sloppier latter on. Jamaica seemed to be dropping the ball a little bit, Canada was as well, in the end we were able to hold it together and get a couple late tries and win it.
RLIS: Now Louis Robinson coming over from England, How great is that for someone of that calibre to come over?
EP: You know what, the guys really learn a lot from him, he’s set up over at Harlequins over there so he’s in a professional outfit and its just great for players to play with a guy like that and we’ll be bringing him back for all our internationals, true Canadian.
RLIS: Now Danny Tupou had an absolutely outstanding match, I think 2 tries and he was involved in setting up in many of the others. Defensively he was really putting in the big hits, he got the Man of the Match. How has his development come along in the last year?
EP: Well, Danny scored against the USA in his only other international so so we know he has the scoring touch and he has been one of our key leaders on the field and off the field. So hats off to him, that’s for sure.
RLIS: Now I have to say that the whole day has been run outstandingly. A big crowd, I would say 1500 I think is a good call on that, very vocal, great food, I could smell that chicken and pork Jerk, couldn’t get any (laughing … EP: we’ll get you some right now) just the ground and facilities here are quite great, in terms of hosting future tournaments, what are you aspirations?
EP: Well we’re looking to host the Atlantic Cup Next year and we have some internationals lined up possibly with Italy, Russia and Scotland, we are in talks with all of those. We want to get as many countries as we can out here.
RLIS: You have got the USA still this year and you also have the South Africans … Corey is here as well now, maybe you’d like to say something?
Corey Tukeli: Just couldn’t be more proud of the team Canada Wolverines, Its been a year, this has been a Cinderella story I predicted way back when, and it came to fruition today and I couldn’t be more pleased with the success. I mean it wasn’t a narrow margin here, it was what I like to call a brucking, which is a massive victory.
RLIS: It certainly was a massive victory, 30 points difference. How do you see Canada going against the USA and the South Africans?
CT: Honestly, with this momentum and this ride that we’re on, it’s a rollercoaster and we’re taking it to the top and I welcome all challengers at this point.
RLIS: Can you make a comment on the domestic set up, you have the British Columbia teams that are set up, you obviously have here in the Toronto area 4 teams, can you say a few words about that, how they are coming into the whole picture?
CT: Absolutely, in BC (British Columbia)there is organic growth there which is great and they are trying to hit 4 teams right now. This means that in 1 year we would have 8 club teams in Canada, four in Ontario and four in BC, its just growing, the entire sport of Rugby League in Canada is now on the map so more to come, more clubs next season, I can’t wait!
RLIS: Fantastic Corey congratulations.
CT: Thank you so much.
The Canadian team during the national Anthems
Rugby League International Scores: I’m here with Louis Robinson who has come over from England, from the London Harlequins to play with the Canadian squad, Lou congratulations history being made?
Louis Robinson: Yeah, its a great win, great for the country, I hope the sport can really progress from here and I can play a lot more games hopefully.
RLIS: Now I saw the Canadian squad play last year against Jamaica and they have improved 1000% I can tell you that. You scores a try and you set up a couple tries, how does it feel to have international points under your belt?
LR: Its great, its so surreal. I only emailed them mucking about with my mate Dave back home and all of a sudden they have been really friendly to me and they got me out and its been just so surreal but its brilliant. I love it here, I love playing for these boys, its the greatest I really hope it goes on.
RLIS: How about this crowd?! I think its about 1400-1500 that turned out which is pretty amazing for Rugby League outside of the heartlands.
LR: Yeah I mean I have played in the Halliwell Jones and stuff like that but the crowd here today were great, great atmosphere and a really good thing for Rugby, great weather a little bit hot for me coming from London But it was great!
RLIS: Wonderful, Lou, I’ll let you go over to your mates for team photos.
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