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USA Hawks coach Peter Illfield passing the baton

The Colonial Cup 2 game series was a great hit out between the USA Hawks and Canada Wolverines. Whilst Canada won both games, only 14 points separated the teams.

By Julian Clarkstone | Images: Davey Wilson Photography

`Hawks Fans waiting for the next installment, will have an even better opportunity to watch the USA play in the upcoming Firehouse Subs Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers – December 4-12.  This time the stakes are even higher with a World Cup berth handed only to the winner out of USA, Canada and Jamaica.

The Hawks improved significantly on their game one performance against Canada, but they will need to step up again if they are going to qualify for their second consecutive World Cup. Coach, Peter Illfield, is only too aware of the improvements that need to be made in just over a month.

“Unfortunately, losing our Captain and Five-Eighth midway through the first half affected our flow in attack. Our kicks in general play were nowhere near the quality expected at this level. We turned over possession too often,” Illfield said.

It definitely wasn’t all bad news for the Hawks, with the forwards responding positively to the challenges set by the coaching staff after game one, showing greater penetration in attack. The back three were possibly the most impressive in the loss, scoring all 28 of the teams’ points.

English Super League Champions Leeds Rhinos' Coach, Brian McDermott, will raise the bar when he takes over coaching responsibilities," Illfield exclaimed.

“Our outside backs showed the most improvement with new recruits and wingers Roman Lowery (3 tries) and Mike Timpano (4 goals). Fullback, Ryan Burroughs, continued with his feats from game one, scoring 2 tries,” Illfield stated.

The next month will be crucial for the Hawks, in this time the coaching reigns will be taken over by Leeds Rhinos’ coach, Brian McDermott. Further to this, heritage players will be added to the squad.

“Heritage players from Australia have shown an interest and will add some expertise and skill to the squad. English Super League Champions Leeds Rhinos’ Coach, Brian McDermott, will raise the bar when he takes over coaching responsibilities, which will provide a far more consistent and intense preparation,” Illfield exclaimed.

McDermott’s experience will be vital not only for the World Cup Qualifiers, but it will be crucial in the development of Rugby League in the US. The Hawks players can apply the new knowledge that McDermott will provide and can then give this to their USARL teammates prior to the 2016 season. McDermott’s success is hard to match, coaching Leeds who won the 2015 Super League title as well as the Challenge Cup titles in 2015 and 2014.

The USA Hawks will play their first match against Jamaica on the 4th of December and will follow this up against Canada on the 12th (both game to be played at Hodges Stadium, Jacksonville).

Follow Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers and Hawks team updates, pics etc at the Firehouse Subs on facebook.com/usarl

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