The Gillette Four Nations, and more particularly the performances by Wales, have been a source of interest, at least to some extent, to the American National Rugby League.
The USA Tomahawks have been drawn alongside the Welsh and Cook Islands in Group D of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup and while it’s still a fair way off, the Tomahawks coaching staff has been making notes.
Wales bowed out of the series at the conclusion of the group stages after being handled by England, New Zealand and Australia; however, Lee Briers’ side drew praise for the quality of football it played with most observers predicting better things to come.
While it’s quite likely that the teams both the USA and Wales will field in 2013 will have different looks about them, the Four Nations has been beneficial for the AMNRL from an early scouting standpoint.
“We will be the underdogs going into the pool against Wales and the Cook Islands. We expect both of those nations to be very tough opposition,” AMNRL president David Niu told WeAreRugby.
“But having said that, we are totally excited about being part of the tournament and intend to enjoy the experience.”
Rugby League’s popularity has been on the rise in Wales since Gareth Thomas led the national team to victory in last year’s European Cup and earned promotion to the Four Nations.
The fact that Wales will co-host the World Cup with England is another factor that will likely keep the momentum going, and what that means is that by October 2013 the Welsh will expect to be on top of their game.
However, be that as it may, according to Niu, so too will the USA.
“We will prepare our players over the next two years with a view to being at our best by the RLWC 2013,” he continued.
“That timeline will give us a chance to continue to develop our local player base along with monitoring our foreign based professionals. I have every confidence in our coaching staff and the systems they will implement for our national team program to be competitive at the RLWC.”