Team Name: USA Hawks
Colours: Red, White and Blue
First WC Appearance: 2013
No. Of RLWC Titles: 0
Governing Body: USARL
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The United States may not be known as a Rugby League playing nation but is surly set to change as the Tomahawks make their first bow in a Rugby League World Cup.
North America has really started to take to the sport of Rugby League with internationals between Canada and USA getting attendances in the thousands whilst the United States’ domestic competition continues to develop and strengthen.
USA Rugby League
The USA have played the sport intermittingly since the 1950’s but it has been over the past decade which has seen the country really progress and develop.
Regular International matches have really helped the United State domestic competition which consists of semi-professional tams playing mainly in the North East of America whilst a second domestic competition features 14 other semi-pro teams. There is hope that the 2 league will join together in the near future which should also prove a huge boost to American Rugby League.
The Tomahawks, whose squad is made up of mostly domestic based players but also a couple of NRL and Super League based players, have now started to play regular matches against the likes of Jamaica and Canada which should help them in their World Cup quest.
In the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, the USA Rugby League Test side shocked the world by making it through to the Quarter Finals, with their creative attacking play showing the potential that they have and with the growing quality of the domestic scene in the USA and to the North in Canada, the USA could quickly become one of the power houses of world Rugby League.
United States National Rugby League Team
The United States national team have carried the flag for the Americas for much of the last 2-3 decades but now there has been a lot of growth in the region and they are in a battle with the likes of Canada, Jamaica, and Brazil to stay the regional powerhouse.
Just as the international game has seen plenty of growth recently, the domestic scene is also seeing growth and whilst the changes happening could really work to the benefit of the national team, only time will tell.
Colours and Kit
As you would expect from a side representing the USA, the Hawks kit in red, white a blue and consists of a mostly white shirt, with blue shorts and red socks, whilst red and white do feature on the shirt as well.
Aside from success in the Atlantic Cup, the country have yet to win a major international tournament.
The United States have managed to keep a good balance of playing American players based in the country domestic competition alongside experienced heritage players from England and Australia.
Whilst that is admirable and will certainly benefit them in the future, it has meant that they have not really featured any huge stars of the sport.
Amongst the more recognisable names to play for the country have been Junior VaiVai, Eddy Pettybourne, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Corey Makelim, Nathan Massey, Ryan McGoldrick, Clint Newton, David Niu, Joseph Paulo, Junior Paulo, Steele Retchless and Bureta Faraimo.
A representative side for the USA were brought into life in the 1950 when a wrestling promoter sent a squad of 22 athletes who had never played the sport before to Australia to take on local teams but the fact that they took the field in American Football gear hinted at the quality and seriousness of that endeavour- as they say, only in America.
After that tour, the sort and the national team disappeared until 1987 when a representative side played Canada and joined the World Sevens.
Thankfully, this revival was much better organised and has continued to build to the USA Hawks teams of today until the stewardship of the countries governing body, the USARL.
It did take a few twists and turns to get to that point as a number of splits in both the governance of the sport and the make up of the domestic scene in the country, which do continue to this very day.
Thankfully, the USA have managed to keep playing at the international level and whilst there have been a few hiccups, including welcoming the Kangaroos in 2004 only to play on a field set up for Grid Iron and playing over 4 quarters instead of 2 halves.
One big challenge for the Hawks was to qualify for the Rugby league World Cup and that was achieved in 2012 when they took on and defeated South Africa and Jamaica in a qualification process for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
Arguably the country’s biggest win came in warm up match for that tournament when the United States headed over to Toulouse in France to take on the French national team and to the shock of everyone, they picked up a 22-18 win.
At the World Cup itself, they started well and won their first ever match on the global stage by defeating the Cook Islands and then Wales but they then lost to Scotland. That was good enough to make it out of the group stage but they suffered a 62-0 loss to the Kangaroos to be eliminated.
In the 2017 World Cup, the USA struggled badly and they failed to qualify for the 2021 edition but with more and more teams playing the sport in America and with better regional competition, there is lots to be positive about the USA Hawks.