Internationals 2017 World Cup Qualifiers

Lord Gnome of Howick MBE

Lord Gnome of Howick MBE


By Brian Lowe in the United States, Date: 8/11/15

The Americas Region Qualifying series for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup is scheduled to be played in early December in Florida.

The USA, Canada and Jamaica will go head-to-head in Jacksonville and DeLand from December 4-12 with the winner advancing to the big dance in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

The 2015 version of the Qualifiers will take on a whole new look from the previous incarnation in 2011 with the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) giving the series a major tweak.

The US won the whole enchilada last time around to qualify for the 2013 RLWC, but things were vastly different back then.

For starters, the RLIF designated it as the Atlantic Zone Qualifying series. Second, the participants included the then USA Tomahawks, relative newcomers Jamaica and a just emerging South Africa. Third, most pundits weren’t expecting much from whichever team went through so the hyperbole normally associated with big deal tournaments such as this was kept to a minimum. Actually, it was virtually non-existent.

This time, though, maybe not so much.

The much improved Canadian Wolverines have been making some noise while racking up the Ws, the American national team has had a name change and its managerial structure and player selection process have undergone a complete overhaul in the last year or so, while the Jamaican Reggae Warriors are still plugging away trying to make some inroads in a place where cricket is king.

So what should we make of the upcoming Americas RLWCQ? At first glance, and based on recent results, the Canadians should probably go in as favorites, if for no other reason than they have their opponents’ number.

The Wolverines are on a four-game win streak dating back to July 2014 when they beat Jamaica in Toronto. They also posted back-to-back victories against the USA on the road earlier this season, something that they had never done before, to retain the Colonial Cup and they are likely to have an even stronger team in Florida with the return of some key players who were missing from that campaign.

Canada has some other pluses in its back pocket to consider. They have won three straight against the US, including the two in Philadelphia this season, and will be coached by Aaron Zimmerle, a native Canadian who coaches in the Intrust Super Cup competition in Queensland, a feeder league to the NRL in Australia, and he knows what to expect.

“Big games are not won by looking for the big play; they will be faster and more intense than anything we have played in before,” said Zimmerle. “Opportunities will be less as the quality of the opposition rises.”

There is no doubt that Canada has been steadily improving since its re-emergence in international Rugby League in 2010. Prior to that, the sport had endured a 10-year hiatus. Since 2010, the Wolverines are 4-1 against Jamaica and 5-10 against the USA.

What about the home team, what do we make of them? As reported by RugbyLeaguePlanet, the game in America has gone through some major upheaval in recent times starting in 2011 with the formation of the USA Rugby League (USARL), which broke away from the then American National Rugby League (AMNRL).

Up to that point, as the sole governing body, the AMNRL had set the direction of the game in the USA, and consequently, ran the national team, the Tomahawks. The AMNRL ceased to be after the 2013 RLWC and the USARL took over as the new national governing body in 2014.

Due to the domestic governance dispute after the last World Cup, the US is the only quarterfinalist from 2013 that wasn’t granted automatic qualification for 2017 and that is why it must go through this qualification process.

Leading up to and including the 2013 World Cup, the AMNRL opted to utilize the RLIF’s eligibility rules in regards to the Tomahawks’ squad, and as such, the majority of players on the roster were drafted from overseas competitions including the NRL, English Super League and second tier leagues in the Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales.

That strategy paid off handsomely with the Tomahawks cruising through the 2011 RLWCQ against Jamaica and South Africa to punch their ticket to the World Cup for the very first time.

Then, under the tutelage of NRL assistant coach Terry Matterson, the USA went on to post wins against France, in a RLWC warm-up match, as well as the Cook Islands and Wales in the Group stage to book a place in the quarterfinals where they were bounced by eventual champions Australia.

But that was then and this is now and how things have changed. The USARL has a totally different approach to the national team selection process.

“Our philosophy is different than the past, it is to give those loyal to playing in our domestic comp a pathway to national success, however difficult the road may be, for us all,” said USARL chairman Peter Illfield.

The new national team, the USA Hawks as they are now known, played their first two games under the new regime this past summer and were swept by Canada. The squad was made up completely of domestic players and Illfield has made it clear that their strategy won’t change for the RLWCQ in Florida, hence Canada should get the nod as pre-tournament favorites.

The homeside will be coached by Brian McDermott, who coaches Leeds Rhinos in the English Super League, and he knows full well what lies ahead.

“We’re under no illusions how tough those games will be especially as we’ll be there to be shot at and there is a terrific rivalry between the nations, which this sport thrives on," he said.

As for Jamaica, well, the Reggae Warriors’ last win was way back in 2011 when they accounted for South Africa during the World Cup Qualifiers in Philadelphia, but it has been slim pickings since then.

They haven’t had any international games in the lead up to this Qualifying series, and as a consequence, their match fitness will be lacking, not to mention their mental focus.

“We have been addressing that with some high pressure training sessions in Kingston and the squad has been responding well," said Jamaica head coach Romeo Monteith.

So, who is the likely winner?

The way the matches have been scheduled, the USA has the advantage of a week off between games by virtue of the fact that they are hosting the series and because technically they are the defending regional champions.

A first up loss to Jamaica, albeit unlikely, wouldn’t be the final nail in the coffin for the Hawks, but it would mean that they would have to rely on Canada to beat the Jamaicans and they would then need to knock off the Wolverines. In that scenario, each team would finish the tournament with a 1-1 record, so points differential and tries scored would come into play.

Rugby League can be a funny game though and if Coach McDermott can bring some of his Super League success to the US squad, the Hawks could throw a wrench in the spokes.

The most likely scenario, however, is for the USA to dispatch Jamaica in Game 1 and for Canada to do likewise in Game 2 to set up a winner takes all Game 3. And if things indeed pan out that way, the Canadians should be favored to clinch their first ever trip to the Rugby League World Cup.

2017 World Cup Qualifiers - Americas Region Schedule:
Game 1 - December 4, 2015 USA v Jamaica (7pm Jacksonville, FL)
Game 2 - December 8, 2015 Canada v Jamaica (7pm DeLand, FL)
Game 3 - December 12, 2015 USA v Canada (3pm Jacksonville, FL)

Brian Lowe (below) will be on the ground in the USA covering all the latest in the build-up to the Americas Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers


Wales play Serbia at home and Italy away in World Cup qualifiers


Date: 9/11/15

Wales have been drawn against Italy and Serbia in the 2016 European Qualifiers for Rugby League World Cup 2017.

The Welsh will take on Serbia at home on the weekend of 15-16 October then Italy away on the weekend of 29-30 October in a three-team group. The venues are yet to be announced.

The winners of this group will qualify automatically for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup which takes place in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, with the runners up having a second chance in a play-off at Leigh Sports Village on November 4th 2016 when they will take on the second placed side from a group consisting of Ireland, Spain and Russia.

Wales have lost in both games they’ve played against Italy, 6-13 in a friendly in Wrexham in 2010 and 16-32 at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff 2013, whilst in their only outing against Serbia, in 2009, Wales won 88-8 in Smedrevo.

Wales coach John Kear said: “Italy is probably the toughest draw we could have got. They’ve a lot of Australian Italian players to choose from and we know from 2013, where they beat both England and Wales, how well they can play.

“We don’t know too much about Serbia apart from the fact that they’ve had a good 2015 and have done well to qualify for this stage.

“We won’t underestimate anyone. We’ll prepare well, like we have done for this year’s European Championship, and we’ll go into the World Cup qualifiers with a professional outlook.

“If our players they keep developing the way they are right now, there's no reason why we can't qualify then go down under in 2017 and make a good account of ourselves.”

Wales take on Ireland this Saturday in Bray (kick-off 5pm) knowing that a win or draw will give them the European Championship trophy for the first time in five years.
Good Evening Lord, Spelling Police here.
Qualifiers Not Qulifiers :D

The quote that the police at the Pacific Games were unarmed is at a guess only refering to those inside the stadium. I seriously doubt all the police laid down their weapons. Good luck to them though I hope it's a success. My guess is the teams would probably stay at the Express Holiday Inn or somewhere like Ela Beach Hotel although there are a few places that could take a couple of teams. It would be interesting to see the players trying to move around Moresby as the locals will be camped outside the compounds. Just hope the fans that go stay smart because Port Moresby is not a place to go out on the piss and walk home liquored up at night. If you're lucky you may make it home only naked, unlucky you may not make it home at all.
when does the draw come out ?

if I need to get to oz for the semi and final I need to start putting some coin away now !
when does the draw come out ?

if I need to get to oz for the semi and final I need to start putting some coin away now !
Wont be for awhile yet. They dont even know who all the teams are. You can be sure that it will be in late 2017 after the NRL season...

Former Parramatta Eels and Sydney Roosters coach has been appointed as a consultant to the Serbian national team ahead of final qualifying round. Also, it’s been announced the team will be strengthened with 15 Australian players of Serbian descent during the preparation tour in Australia, from January 28 to February 8

Branko Cvetojevic / SBS Radio Serbian

8 Jan 2016 - 4:33 PM UPDATED 8 Jan 2016 - 4:33 PM

Renowned Australian coach Brian Smith has been appointed as a consultant to the Serbian Rugby League national team ahead of the World Cup 2017 qualifiers. Current Wakefield Wildcats coach was recently in Belgrade to help the Serbian team preparations for their upcoming, first ever tour to Australia, from January 28 to February 8.

During the tour Serbia will play series of test games, including Cabramatta 9 tournament and friendly against the Philippines national team on February 5. Brian Smith will work together with existing coaching staff and their team will be strengthened with 15 Australian players of Serbian descent. Some of them, like Ilija Radan, Dejan Lukenic, Milan Radojevic and Adam Nedic had already played for Serbian national team.

Smith and Aussies will bring much needed experience to the Serbian Eagles in their bid to qualify for the Rugby League World Cup, to be held across Australia, New Zealand and PNG in 2017.

After winning European Championship B, Serbian team currently sits 11th in the world rankings, and will face Italy and Wales in the final qualifications round in October.

Serbian Rugby League Federation announced agreement with Smith and plans for Australian tour on their website.

“We have agreed that Smith will take on an advisory role during preparations for the qualifiers and for the campaign itself in October 2016. Involvement of such experienced and skilled professional is a massive boost for us and grows our chances for success in the World Cup 2017 qualifiers”, has been told in the SRLF official statement.

The Federation’s website cited Smith’s words that “Serbia has a huge potential, especially in players physical abilities.”

”It’s clear that we have a lot of hard work to do in order to make our dream come true. With the help of Brian Smith and large colony Australian-Serbian players we can achieve to qualify for The World Cup 2017.

During their stay in Sydney, Serbian players and officials will pay a visit to Obilic, most successful Serbian basketball club in Australia.
  • Like
Reactions: mt.wellington

Similar threads

Hardyman's Yugo
Hardyman's Yugo
Geoff Public
Lord Gnome of Howick MBE
Hardyman's Yugo
Hardyman's Yugo

Last Game

12 May

24 - 12
7.2 Total Avg Rating
10.0 Your Avg Rating

Highest Rated Player

Lowest Rated Player

Compiled from 8 ratings