Game one of the 2012 Colonial Cup series kicks off this Saturday at Lamport Stadium in Toronto and the USA team is only too aware of how difficult the challenge will be against the Wolverines at home. The Canadians have already disposed of Jamaica and Lebanon earlier this year and will be eager to take a one nothing lead in the two game series.
Almost 5,000 fans turned out for the international against Jamaica in July and the Canadian Rugby League expect double the crowd with the traditional North American rivalry sure to bring out a record crowd. The Wolverines beat the US at Fletchers Field last year and have proven to be a tough opponent on home soil.
Marcus Vassilakopoulos heads up the US coaching staff with Matt Elliott set to join the squad later in the year when his NRL commitments are complete and knows first hand how difficult a challenge the Wolverines can be in front of their local fans, "We have played Canada a few times now up north and each time they have improved and we expect no different this weekend. They have a solid pack of forwards and a dangerous set of backs so we will need to be on our game all around the paddock. We have planned to use this series as an evaluator to look at a larger number of players, so the squad taking the field this weekend will have a different look to the group that will play in the return game in Connecticut later this month. Matty is setting up a really good plan to prepare players for the World Cup, Ben Kelly is implementing a world class conditioning program, and this series is an element of that preparation. We have a very positive culture and our guys care about the program and being part of the growth of rugby league in the USA. That is very important to the coaching staff and everyone involved in our league. I see some of the negative stuff that floats about out there. It's laughable. To be honest it just washes off me. I know it actually motivates a lot of the lads to do better, and focus on a 'we' as opposed to 'me' mentality. Much of the stuff said and written is by the same small group of blokes with an axe to grind (pardon the pun) who start and end every sentence with their own name. We still have lot's of footy to play in the USA in 2012 as we move toward a massive 2013. For us the business is on the field, not in some silly forum somewhere no cares about."
USA v CANADA
LAMPORT STADIUM, TORONTO
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 AT 7PM
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