The 2015 USARL Competition may be over, but there’s more Rugby League action when the USA Hawks take on arch rivals, the Canada Wolverines at Philadelphia Fight’s home ground.
Two back-to-back test matches are to take place prior to Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers later this year. Both games will be held at A.A. Garthwaite Stadium in Philadelphia, home of the Philadelphia Fight on September 20 (1pm) and October 18 (3pm)
One man who knows this ground only too well is USARL Hawks five-eighth and Philadelphia Fight member, Rich Henson. Henson has been playing for the fight since 2009 and will make his debut for the Hawks in less than two weeks. The location of the game has only added to Henson’s excitement at being selected.
“When I heard the news I was simply elated. A few years ago I set myself a goal to be a part of the USA National Team. The best part about the selection is that I get to play on my home pitch in front of my teammates, family and friends,” Henson said.
Some of Henson’s team mates will have a great view of his performance as they are also representing the Hawks. Casey Clark and Andrew Kneisly will make up the remaining Fight members in the Hawks line-up, yet unlike Henson, they have represented the USA before. One player from outside the Fight that Henson labelled as a player to watch is Northern Virginia Eagles centre, Ryan Burroughs. “I’m excited to play alongside Ryan, he has blistering pace and is a very elusive runner,” Henson added.
As Henson was getting closer to his goal of representing the Hawks, he went through the process of being in the 35 man pre-select squad. In this environment he increased his training both on and off the field. Further to this Henson was selected for the North Conference All-Stars team that played in the curtain raiser to the Boston 13s and Atlanta Rhinos Championship Final 2 weeks ago. It was through this game that Henson got to play alongside his halves partner at the Hawks, Matt Walsh, from the Connecticut Wildcats. Walsh has plenty of experience with the Hawks and Henson believes he will be a good foil for his game.
“We showed some good chemistry in the North vs. South game. He’ll have a calming effect that people look up to and his rock steady play will allow me to attack with a bit of creativity,” Henson said.
While is it a big moment for Rich Henson, his debut will be shared alongside 12 other Hawks players. This means that plenty of players will have an added incentive to put their best food forward in the first clash.
“Both teams have named a fair amount of debutants, so I expect a lot of players will be looking to make a statement. I think the game will be much faster than at club level,” Henson stated.
The match is bound to be a thriller for fans and players. Last year Canada defeated the USARL Hawks 52-14, but the Hawks will be looking to turn that around, in which Rich Henson is looking to play his part.
“I really just love playing footy. Obviously I want to play at the highest level that the USA has to offer, but I also want to help grow the game in the USA,” Henson said.
USA Hawks vs Canada Wolverines
Sunday 1pm, September 20 & October 18 3pm.
A.A.Garthwaite Stadium – Conshohocken (Philadelphia), PA.
$5 entry / Kids under 12 FREE
Enjoy food, drinks, prizes & giveaways! Happy hour specials begin at 12 noon.