USA Prepare for 2011

By Daniel Andruczyk

OK so the World Cup article is almost complete, just getting it OK by people I have quotes, so that will be up soon. But you know how the Rugby League authorities like to drag their feet sometimes. Anyway still no official world from David Niu or the AMNRL about anything to do with the split and I know its frustrating a lot of fans and people and its starting to looking bad. However the AMNRL is pushing along with their 2011 preparations.

Mini Camp

Sunday 23rd January sees a USA Tomahawks Mini Camp (see article here) in Philadelphia at Swathmore College. It will be an interesting one considering the amount of snow and cold that is in the North of the USA at the moment, so most probably will be inside. This is the first of three camps to be help this year. The next one will be in New York City and then the last will be in Jacksonville Florida, does this mean that USARL players will be included?

The AMNRL staff will be getting their first look at potential players for the team and will help in the selection process. There will be a large defensive component in this camp as well focusing on techniques and core skill development. This will be leading up to the first USA international for the year which is against the Irish on the 19th of March. Its not clear whether its a full Irish team (as most of their top players are involved in ESL and NRL at that time) or the Amateur Irish Wolfhounds team, which will probably be looking as a warm up for their Home Nations campaign this year. The last time the USA and Ireland played was in 2004.

The USA will then take on Canada in a renewal of the Colonial Cup. This will be a two game series help at the end of September and this will lead into the World Cup Qualifiers against Jamaica and South Africa in October.

Mascords on the Money.

This week Steve Mascords weekly Discord column (view here) has some interesting comments and scoops. Seems with the 4 Nations tournament the organisers are going to be happy for the Kiwis and Aussies to play their game in the Antipodes. Seems that the likely candidate will be Skilled Park in the Gold Coast. A great Choice in my opinion, its a 27 – 30,000 set stadium and we know from previous years this is about the right size for the end of year internationals. It most probably will be a full sell-out since this will be the only International involving the Kangaroos in Australia this year.

It also seems that there is a bit more riding on the Millennium Magic Weekend which is coming up fast. It will determine weather the 4 Nations double header will be in Cardiff or be taken to Wembley. So one of these venues will get two massive events in one year. A real boon for either. My personal feelings on this is that it should be at Wembley. Have England take on Australia and Wales take New Zealand. Wembley is considered the spiritual Home of Rugby League in Great Britain and so should have one of the biggest games of the year there. Imagine if Wales and England can win their matches there, the place would be electric!

Mascord also talks about the Atlantic World Cup Qualifiers being held in Jacksonville. This was the hope of the Axemen who organised the 2010 and 2011 championships but I think its been now known for a while that well basically somewhere that’s not Jacksonville will get them. I have even heard Denver being talked about for internationals this year. But it seems that Steve as everyone else seem to be getting the cold Shoulder/Run around from the AMNRL about the new comp as he is not getting any info either. But curiously he says that he contacted Star Group to get a response “Certainly, no-one from Star Group of the AMNRL has been willing to answer my questions or those of the breakaway clubs about the nature of their relationship, which does raise concern.” this seems to give the impression that Star Group is involved in the working of the AMNRL somehow.

All-Stars Bandwagon and International Schedule

Seems that the All-Stars concept is starting to catch on. Though the Australian concept is very unique and I think the English have lost the translation of what the All-Star match is, they are seriously exploring a similar concept to try and help prepare the National team. But seems that the USA is also looking into it, well the Western Expansion teams anyway. I received and invite from the Dallas Dragons this week for a East v West All-Stars match to be held on the 5th of October. Hopefully this will not clash with any of the planned Colonial Cup and World Cup Qualifiers. Should be interesting to see who turns out for this match.

A final note the 2011 international Schedule is Starting to fill out nicely. You can have a look at what matched and dates have been confirmed here. The European World Cup Qualifier dates have been set. No word yet on the Euro Shield, Bowl and Med tournaments, but I believe in February there is a RLEF meeting to confirm these and an announcement will be made.

Daniel Andruczyk’s email: daniel@rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com
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