The USA Tomahawks are not feeling any added pressure going into the all or nothing showdown with Jamaica in the final game of the Rugby League World Cup Atlantic Zone Qualifiers Sunday in Philadelphia. The winner will advance to the 2013 World Cup in England and Wales as the Atlantic Zone seed in Pool D. The home team sits atop the group standings and only needs to win the game to clinch that spot.
Both teams beat South Africa in their opening matches, the USA posting a 40-4 scoreline and Jamaica a 20-6 decision, giving the Tomahawks the advantage of a superior points differential. “We’re in a pretty good state of mind,” said USA head coach Matt Elliott. “We’re planning to play better than we did in the first game and I’m just really excited for the players. Everyone’s concentrating on making their preparation right.”
The South Africa match was the first time that the combined American squad had played together as a unit as the coaching staff had opted for purely domestic-based teams in the internationals against Ireland and Canada earlier in the season, but even so the Tomahawks were dominant against the Rhinos.
Coach Elliott says the fact that Sunday’s game is for a spot in the World Cup will have little bearing on how his side approaches the match. “The way we performed in the first game really worked for us and there won’t be a whole lot of change,” continued Coach Elliott. “The focus was to come up with a strategy that worked and we did that.”
For the Jamaican team, it’s now all eyes on Sunday. “We’ve got three days to prepare for America, it’s a great environment to play in and we are playing now for the right to take part in a World Cup.”
RLWCQ Schedule - Philadelphia:
MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY
GAME 3 - USA v Jamaica
2pm ET, October 23, 2011
Campbell’s Field, Camden, NJ