Wed 19 June

Tomahawks busy schedule will tee up RLWC2013 campaign

Tomahawks busy schedule will tee up RLWC2013 campaign

The USA  coaching staff will incorporate lessons learned from the President’s XIII ‘friendly’ against Samoa as it formulates strategies and game plans for the meat and potatoes of the 2013 season.

The American National Rugby League’s President’s XIII hosted Toa Samoa in Hawaii earlier this month in the friendly fixture.

USA Tomahawks assistant coach Marcus Vassilakopoulos served as coach of the President’s XIII and says the home team was its own worst enemy in several key areas in the 34-10 loss.

 “Samoa's line speed was good and our ball control was poor, around 50 per cent or less for the game,” said Coach Vassilakopoulos.

 “We couldn't get off the back foot.  Last tackle options were poor also.  We need a better kicking game next outing.”

The game did provide a useful exercise from the standpoint of identifying future potential national team players with the coach noting there were some good individual efforts.

“A new league player Keone Tawata, front row/second row, is very strong, hit like a train and ran the ball well,” continued Vassilakopoulos.

“Loto Tagaloa played well, scoring both tries and Vai Notoa and Keke Misipeka were strong both playing 80 minutes in the second row.

“Dusten Umeda also ran the ball well from dummy half, but didn't get enough ball out on the wing.”

The US national squad is now focusing on this summer’s Colonial Cup series against arch rivals Canada.  The series will be played over three months from July to September and this year it has been expanded to a three-game series.  Two of the matches will be away games in Toronto.

The US holds the Cup after three straight wins since the inaugural match in 2010.  The Tomahawks and Wolverines split the series in 2011, but the US retained the Cup based on aggregate points, and then swept Canada aside in last year’s series.

However, Coach Vassilakopoulos acknowledges the Canadians have been consistently closing the gap and thinks it wouldn’t be prudent for the USA to make any assumptions.

“We'll need to improve our ball control against Canada and have a better line speed and kicking game,” he said.

At the conclusion of the Colonial Cup series, the national team’s coaching staff will pick the USA’s 24-man squad that it will take to Rugby League World Cup  2013 in the UK.

 En route to RLWC2013, the Tomahawks will have a warm-up game against France in Toulouse on October 18.

 USA TOMAHAWKS pre-RLWC2013 Schedule:

USA v Canada (Colonial Cup, Toronto, July 6)

USA v Canada (Colonial Cup, Philadelphia, August 24)

USA v Canada (Colonial Cup, Toronto, September 21)

USA v France (Toulouse, October 18)

The Tomahawks begin their RLWC2013 campaign against the Cook Islands at the Memorial Stadium in Bristol on Wednesday October 30. They then play co-hosts Wales in Wrexham on Sunday November 3 and finish their Group C/D games by playing Scotland at the Salford City Stadium on Thursday November 7.

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Tomahawks busy schedule will tee up RLWC2013 campaign


Rugby League World Cup
Sat 23 NovNew Zealand 20-18 England
Sun 17 NovSamoa 4-22 Fiji
Sat 16 NovEngland 34-6 France
Fri 15 NovNew Zealand 40-4 Scotland
Mon 11 NovFrance 6-22 Samoa
Sun 10 NovWales 24-28 Cook Islands
Sat 09 NovEngland 34-12 Fiji
Fri 08 NovNew Zealand 56-10 Papua New Guinea
Thu 07 NovScotland 22-8 USA
Tue 05 NovTonga 22-16 Cook Islands

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