Atlantic Cup 2010 – Day 3, The Presser!

By Daniel Andruczyk

Today was an early start for me, 4 am to be precise. I had World League this morning with Chris on HKC Radio and that was at 5 am. Despite getting the interview with Romeo Monteith and Dean Thomas last night a technical hitch didn’t get the interview aired but it is added onto the pod cast for you to listen to. After a light breakfast and production meeting of the days and weeks events (if the TV stuff works its going to look awesome!) it was off to the press conference at Midday. Steve Mascord, my roomy, slept like a log finally so it was great to see him up and about fresh from his travels. We took our place at the tables…. Oh and yes the back is still stuffed… thanks for asking.

The reason the event was staged today is because the Jaguars don’t train today (i.e. the NFL team) and so the media is free to come and hopefully cover the Rugby League. Several of the local media were there and it was great to see. Many questions were asked about the tournaments and the preparation of the teams. Special attention was given to the Canadians who are playing their first tournaments in 10 years or so.


The press conference at Days Inn Hotel in Jacksonville. The Jamaicans are on the left, Canadians in middle and USA on the right.

David Niu was asked about the future of American Rugby League and where plans for the pro competition are “There are plans in the works” he said. “Ther are things in progress that could potentially see it happen soon”. “Not all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed but we are getting there”. The Jamaicans were asked what it’s like to bring two very different groups of players together, how they bond. Jamaica’s coach Dean Thomas responded that they are all Jamaican and so are similar despite where they are from. The players bonded quickly and the only different thing was the accents. Asked who had the strange accent, brought a laugh from the room.

I asked Apple Pope, captain of the Tomahawks, about his experiences and what he was able to bring back to the Sates. He said there the speed of the game is so much quicker and the training and playing techniques quite advanced and sophisticated. He was able to bring that back to help incorporate it into the training of the Axemen and USA.

A note should be made of the sponsors, Hotels of Jacksonville, Firehouse subs and the Days Inn Hotel, We are Rugby and Errea. They have done a fantastic job supporting the game and tournaments and making everyone feel comfortable and welcome. Its evident from the press conference that this is now a truly international event and that more sponsors will come on board as it grows more and more in the intervening years.

Almost a Tragedy

I always find that some of the un-sung heroes of the game are the referees. They try to do their job to the best of their ability and always cop abuse for the fans no mater what they do. Many a time at press conferences we don’t get to see of speak to a referee and so I had the opportunity to speak to the Atlantic Cup referee Phil Bentham at todays Press conference. But he almost didn’t make it!

Phil Bentham arrived last night from Orlando, but he almost didn’t make it. Leaving the resort to drive up to Jacksonville, it stoped at a golf buggy crossing and his car was hit from behind by a Disney Land bus and pushed 20 meters down the road. Phil’s Wife, Kirsty and 5 year old daughter Louisa were also in the car. Kirsty did have some neck spasms but X-rays showed there was no serious injury. Over all no one was seriously injured and though Phil said he was a bit stiff is fit and ready top referee the three matches this week. So thanks goodness that Phil his family and everyone are OK.

Asking Phil further about what approach he will take with the match tonight, remembering he controlled all three of Frances European Cup matches last month, he said “What I try and do is, I go into the game and let the game play at its speed … what I try and do is let the teams dictate the speed of the game so I can analyse it in the first 5 minutes and where we are going with that and then I’ll let the refereeing into the speed the players are playing at… we don’t want penalty after penalty”.

So it seems that the games will be refereed in the similar style that the European Cup was, well the French games, which we all know were some of the most exciting games this year shown. So it should be a highly entertaining game.


So remember that you can see the all three matches streamed live on the internet on the kick off it 6:30 tonight local time, and the Jamaica v Canada game is a 6:30 kick off Thursday local time and on Saturday its a 3 pm kick off local time with the main event USA v Canada.

Team Lists

Jamaica: Ashley Johnson (Birmingham Bulldogs), Waine Pryce (Hunslet), Alex Brown (Batley), Greg Johnson (Huddersfield), Wayne Rettic Allen (York City), Paul White (c) (Halifax), Roy Calvert (vc) (Dunhaney Park), Lamont Bryan (vc) (Harlequins), Tyrone Rowe (Vauxhall), Omar James (Vauxhall), Junior Brandford (Oldham), Jamoim Wray (Keighley), Andrew Fong (Vauxhall), Interchange: Andre Reid (Dunhaney Park), Damon Gayll (Dunhaney Park), Romain Campbell (Dunhaney Park), Joe Brown (Gateshead), Coach: Dean Thomas

USA: Kenny Britt (Jacksonville Axemen), Nate Smith (Aston Bulls), Matt Thornton (Jacksonville Axemen), Luke Collins (Aston Bulls), Mike Brazill (Aston Bulls), Brent Shorten (Jacksonville Axemen), Damien O’Malveney (New Haven Warriors), Matt Clark (Jacksonville Axemen), Apple Pope (Jacksonville Axemen), Conway Maraki (Aston Bulls), Taco Pope (Jacksonville Axemen), Ewan Robinson (New Haven Warriors), Sean Taylor (New York Knights), Interchange: Gareth Baxendale (New York Knights), Andrew Kneisly (Aston Bulls), Sione Taufa (Maui – Hawaii), Curtis Cunz (Connecticut Wildcats) , Coach: David Niu

Referee: Phil Bentham (England)   Sideline Referee’s: Wes King (USA) and John Freeman (USA)

Rumour Mill

Its been a while since we had one of these, but the rumour is that it looks like the USA will get to host one of the World Cup Qualifying tournaments next year with the USA, Jamaica and South Africa at least competing and possibly Japan and Canada playing in a qualifying game to join them.

Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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