In a huge announcement for Rugby League fans in British Columbia, Canada, the first ever cross-border game will be played in August on Canadian soil.
The venue will be the Apple Bowl Stadium in Kelowna, with the local provincial team the BC Bulldogs taking on AMNRL expansion team Utah Avalanche in what promises to be an outstanding game of the highest quality Rugby League.
The Avalanche will play a home and away series against the Bulldogs of Canada Rugby League to decide who takes the Western Challenge Cup for 2012.
Everything points to an exciting contest between these two teams and the traditional rivalry between Canada and the USA will be on display once again. The Okanagan Valley will host the first of two games with the return clash to be played in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Utah has a big, strong and very quick squad which includes a good mix of Polynesians, New Zealanders and Australians. They will play a hard and fast-paced game which is sure to entertain the expected large crowd. BC Bulldogs come fresh off the completion of their first BC Championship domestic League. Selectors are currently working on combinations but local experts are tipping they will be hard to beat this year.
Avalanche coach George Tupou has over 20 years’ experience playing and coaching at Manly, Australia. He created Utah Avalanche last year with the focus on expanding the great game of rugby league to the West Coast.
"We have lots of standout players coming to Kelowna,” said Tupou. “Aaron Thompson from NZ playing halfback with over 20 years’ experience; Teki Nau is a hard-running and tackling front rower with a lot of rugby union experience; Siosiua Latu at hooker has great speed and skills; Brian Jensen ex-linebacker is known for his hard running and tackling; Josh Olschewski is a MMA fighter who has converted into rugby league easily with a very good running style along with Patrick Fairchild, who has played rugby union for over ten years. Chance Williams is a devastating attacking player who finds the try line very frequently. We are ready for the challenge."
BC Bulldogs coach Andy Blackburn is excited at the opportunity to showcase the quality of Rugby League players in British Columbia and is expecting a high quality game.
"BC players will work hard on combinations during trial games over the next month and we are preparing for a huge battle against our USA rivals so we need plenty of supporters out at the game,” said Blackburn.
“We will be out to show CRL selectors what our BC guys can produce in a big game atmosphere. This is a huge game for Rugby League in British Columbia."
The game is set for August 18th.