With Game 1 of the Colonial Cup series in the bag, and a win to boot, USA Tomahawks players and coaches alike are enjoying some respite, albeit only temporarily. There are less than three weeks to go until the second game of the series against Canada in Toronto and we’re just seven weeks away from the Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers.
As to be expected, the squad emerged from the opening contest with some bumps and bruises and will use the next couple of weeks or so to get back to full fitness. The time will also be utilized to review what worked and what didn’t in terms of successful strategies and tactics as part of preparations for the away game. Tomahawks captain Apple Pope says the main take away from the match is that the team laid a solid platform to build on. “I was very proud of the way the boys pulled together and kept the faith in our system to pull out the win,” Pope told WeAreRugby. “I know I told you before the game winning wasn't that important, but when we were knotted up at 2-all at halftime pulling out the win sure felt pretty important and we responded accordingly. “With the wet conditions we had a fairly simple gameplan that involved avoiding mistakes, completing sets and winning the field position battle. We were unable to hold on to the ball the entire first half and completed a low percentage of our sets. We stuck to the game plan and with a little determination and a lot of teamwork we got the job done.”
The USA’s gameday roster contained a whopping nine players who were making their international debuts, something of a rarity in the modern game, but according to the skipper they all stepped up to the plate. “I was thoroughly impressed with all the new guys on the team and as I have said before, the number of new talented players that keep showing up only shows the amazing wealth of quality footy players here in the States and the efforts of the scouts and staff of the Tomahawks to find and develop that talent,” said Pope. “The win was a total team victory with tremendous efforts put in by the veterans and debutants alike. “To be completely honest, I don't believe we played up to our potential but holding Canada to no tries and responding with three of our own at the start of the second half was a good sign of things to come.”