The second Colonial Cup game between the USA Tomahawks and Canada Wolverines kicks off this coming Saturday and both teams are looking to improve on their performance in the torrential conditions of game one, two weeks ago. The Tomahawks will make the trip north to Toronto this weekend, keen to play against their northern neighbors in drier conditions.
CEO of the AMNRL, David Niu, said the team must concentrate firstly on ball control. “We can't expect to have any success if we turn the ball over. The coaches will be satisfied if we can execute on offense similar to our second half performance and maintain our desire and level of effort on defense,” he said.
The Canadian team is full of belief. Former head coach, Jamie Lester, who has assumed the role of assistant coach, considers the 18-2 scoreline of game one to be a poor reflection of the Canadian outfit’s ability. “We came down expecting to win and came back with a loss so I think every player in our squad would agree that we under performed in Philadelphia,” he said. “Our squad knows that we are better than we showed in Philadelphia. We need to start our preparation afresh and believe that we can overcome the result.”
Canada will go into the game slightly understrength, without Captain, Steve Conlon. Conlon was ruled out with a broken leg. If the Wolverines can play to their strengths and nullify the Tomahawks’ artillery, the game is set to be a tight one. After reflecting on game one, Lester has identified the key players, “I thought Matt Pettie, our left winger on debut looked dangerous on attack, and our hooker Chris Diamond tried hard all game. As a team we just did not seem to gel and the Tomahawks punished us as a result,” he said. “Their forward pack ran strongly all game and never took a backwards step. They worked well running off Apple [Pope, USA Captain],” Lester added.
It’s the next step for the USA boys, as they gear up for the World Cup Qualifiers next month. David Niu said after this weekend’s game, the coaching staff will have a clearer understanding of the team’s development and what kind of performance they can expect from the squad in October. “We have a process in place that introduced some basic team systems in the first Colonial Cup match and expect to build on these for the next match in Canada,” he said.
The scheduled start time is 3p ET/12 noon PT and will be streamed live online by CBC Sports