United States national rugby league team

Last updated

United States
USA eagles rugby league logo.png
Team information
Governing body USA Rugby League
RegionAmericas Rugby League
Head coach Sean Rutgerson
Home stadium Hodges Stadium
IRL ranking (Current) 18th

(Highest Rank 2014) 9th

(Lowest Rank 2019) 18th
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Kit body thindkbluesides.png
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First colours
Team results
First international
Flag of France.svg  France 31–0 United States  Flag of the United States.svg
(Toulouse, France; October 1954)
Biggest win
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 6–78 United States  Flag of the United States.svg
(Jacksonville, USA; June 27, 2003)
Biggest defeat
Flag of England.svg  England 110–0 United States  Flag of the United States.svg
(Orlando, USA; 2000)
World Cup
Appearances2 (first time in 2013 )
Best resultQuarterfinals (2013)

The United States national rugby league team represents the United States in international rugby league football competitions. The team is managed by the USA Rugby League (USARL).


The United States competed with little success in some international games during the 1950s, but did not return to consistent competition until 1987. With the establishment of the American National Rugby League (AMNRL) in 1997, the team began to participate in more regular international competition, reaching the quarterfinals of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. In 2014, the USARL became the national governing body for rugby league in the U.S.


Early years

One of the earliest attempts to introduce rugby league to the United States was in 1953, when wrestling promoter, Mike Dimitro was asked to organize a tour of Australasia by an American rugby league team.

The team, known as the American All-Stars, was given a huge schedule that included 26 matches against Australian and New Zealand sides. None of the 22 American players had ever played rugby league prior to this tour, they presented themselves in American football-like attire early on in the tournament. The team only won six games and tied two.

Their second match of the tour, against a Sydney side, drew a crowd of 65,453 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. After a consistent lack of competition, crowds were good but never reached the great height that the match at the SCG did.

The tour did not in turn bring any benefits to American rugby league. However, Mike Dimitro did not give up; he was able to organise two exhibitions against Australia and New Zealand in California that did not turn out to be a big success.

1987–1999: Revival

In 1987, the United States played their first international game since 1954 against Canada and built upon this by competing in the World Sevens tournaments between 1997 and 2002.

In 1997, Super League America, who organised the national team, were dissolved and replaced by the American National Rugby League in 2001. The United States Tomahawks warmed up for the 2000 Emerging Nations World Cup with a three-match trip to New South Wales, Australia. On Friday August 11, they took on Forster XIII, drawn from Forster’s two clubs, the Hawks and the Dragons. The Americans were defeated 32–12. They also played the South Sydney Rabbitohs at the old Redfern Oval during Souths' appeal to return to the Australian NRL.

2000–2010: Regular competition

2004 USA team shirt Usa rugby shirt.PNG
2004 USA team shirt
Team badge used until 2010 TomahawksLogo.png
Team badge used until 2010

In 2001, as a response to the September 11 attacks, the AMNRL set up a rugby league match between local USA born players (USA All Stars) and AMNRL players who were born overseas (World Allies All Stars). The match was won by the USA All Stars 27–26. Proceeds from the game were donated to the Red Cross to help with cleanup operations. Since 2002, the Tomahawks have been playing regular international competition in the United States. In 2002, the United States were defeated by Russia 54–10 in front of over 5,000 spectators in Moscow.

On December 1, 2004, the Tomahawks played their first ever international game against the Australian Kangaroos, the reigning World Cup champions. The game was known as the Liberty Bell Cup and was played at Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania and was played on a grid iron size synthetic field (Fox Sports Australia commentators Warren Smith and former Australian captain Laurie Daley reported that the Kangaroos were not too enthused about playing on the synthetic turf). It was also played in 20 minute quarters rather than the normal 40 minute halves. The Tomahawks shocked the Australians by quickly racing to a 12-0 lead in the first quarter. A third converted try just 4 minutes into the 2nd quarter saw Americans lead by the unbelievable score of 18-0 until replacement forward Petero Civoniceva sent fullback Matthew Bowen on a 60-metre run to score under the posts with 5 minutes remaining in the first half. However, a fourth converted try saw the home side lead by the World Champions 24-6 at half time. The Americans actually led for most of the game until the Kangaroos' superior fitness saw them rally in the last quarter of the game to win 36–24. Although they lost the game, many consider this to be the American's finest moment in international rugby league competition.

In October 2006, the USA were to participate in qualifying for their first World Cup. They were placed in a four team Atlantic qualifying pool along with South Africa, West Indies and Japan. South Africa and the West Indies withdrew from qualifying so therefore the group was reduced to a single game between the US and Japan which the USA won 54–18. They then advanced to play Samoa in the Repechage Semi Final where they lost 42–10 to Samoa. Despite playing well against Samoa and coming within two games of qualifying for the World Cup, the United States were dropped from 14th down to 15th place when the new world rankings were released after the tournament.

In 2009 and 2010 the United States hosted other emerging North American teams in the Atlantic Cup. [1]

2011–2013: First World Cup

In 2011, seven teams in the AMNRL domestic competition broke away to form the USA Rugby League. The AMNRL denied selection to players affiliated with USARL teams, including players who had been selected for the Tomahawks previously. [2]

In 2012, the USA entered World Cup qualifying for the second time in another bid to qualify for their first World Cup in 2013. They began with a comprehensive 40–4 victory over the South Africa in Philadelphia, [3] and followed it up with a 40–4 victory over Jamaica to qualify for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup for the first time. [4]

The Tomahawks won a warm-up match against 4th-ranked France, defeating them 22–18 in Toulouse in the USA's best victory to date. [5]

In the finals, they were drawn in a group with the Cook Islands and Wales as well as an inter-group game against Scotland. They began by beating the Cook Islands 32–0 [6] and then Wales 24–16, [7] before losing 22–8 to Scotland, although they still ended up winning their group. [8] As group winners, they advanced to the quarter finals to face Australia, losing 62-0 to be eliminated from the tournament.

2014–present: USARL

Following the World Cup, the national team was put on hiatus while the governance dispute between the AMNRL and the USARL was resolved. The team subsequently lost the right to automatic qualification for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. In November 2014, stewardship of the national team was transferred to the USARL, and the team was rebranded from Tomahawks to Hawks. [9] Brian McDermott was subsequently appointed head coach [10] and his first job was to help the USA re-secure the World Cup qualification that they first won four years earlier. The team performed the qualification tournament, held in the US, in December 2015. The team qualified for their second consecutive World Cup after winning both their matches.

The United States were drawn in a tough group with Fiji, Italy and Papua New Guinea. They lost their first game against Fiji 58-12, following it up with a 46-0 thumping by Italy and finally losing 64-0 in their final pool game against Papua New Guinea. [11] [12]

Coaching History Roster

Also see Category:United States national rugby league team coaches.

No.NameYearsGWLD %
1 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Norm Robinson 195310100
2 Flag of the United States.svg Rob Balachandran
3 Flag of the United States.svg Bob Brhel 19931100100
4 Flag of the United States.svg Mike Sutila 19931100100
5 Flag of the United States.svg Greg Gerard 1994-1995211050
6 Flag of the United States.svg David Niu 199510100
7 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Shane Millard 1999321067
8 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Matthew Elliott 20011100100
9 Flag of the United States.svg Bill Hansbury 20021100100
10 Flag of Australia (converted).svg John Cartwright 200410100
11 Flag of the United States.svg David Niu 20091100100
12 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Matthew Elliott 201110100
13 Flag of the United States.svg David Niu 201110100
14 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Matthew Elliott 20111100100
15 Flag of the United States.svg Ben Kelly 2012-2013431075
16 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Brian Smith 2013
17 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Terry Matterson 2013-2014633050
18 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Peter Illfield 201520200
19 Flag of England.svg Brian McDermott 20152200100
20 Flag of England.svg Robin Peers &
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Dustin Cooper
21 Flag of South Africa.svg Sean Rutgerson 20172200100
22 Flag of England.svg Brian McDermott 201730300
23 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Sean Rutgerson 2018210150
24 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Brent Richardson 2018-201920200
25 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Sean Rutgerson 2019-present

Current squad

Head coach: Flag of Australia (converted).svg Sean Rutgerson

Squad selected for the 2019 Rugby League World Cup 9s:

No.Pos.PlayerDate of birth (age)Club
BK Brandon Anderson 29 December 1988 (aged 30)Flag of the United States.svg Brooklyn Kings
BK Ryan Burroughs 26 August 1991 (aged 28)Flag of the United States.svg Northern Virginia Eagles
FW Brock Davies Flag of the United States.svg Brooklyn Kings
FW Connor Donehue 9 May 1996 (aged 23)Flag of the United States.svg Brooklyn Kings
FW Joe Eichner 9 October 1991 (aged 28)Flag of Australia (converted).svg Northern Pride
BK Bureta Faraimo 16 July 1990 (aged 29)Flag of England.svg Hull F.C.
BK Jay Florimo Flag of Australia (converted).svg The Entrance Tigers
BK Kristian Freed 4 July 1987 (aged 32)Flag of Australia (converted).svg Wests Mitchelton Panthers
FW Khalial Harris Flag of the United States.svg Jacksonville Axemen
FW Daniel Howard 13 December 1984 (aged 34)Flag of Australia (converted).svg Wentworthville Magpies
BK Charlie Jones Flag of the United States.svg Jacksonville Axemen
BK Corey Makelim 6 January 1994 (aged 25)Flag of England.svg Sheffield Eagles
BK Ronaldo Mulitalo 17 November 1999 (aged 19)Flag of Australia (converted).svg Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks
FW Mark Offerdahl 15 October 1987 (aged 32)Flag of Australia (converted).svg Goondiwindi Boars
FW Eddy Pettybourne 13 February 1988 (aged 31)Flag of Australia (converted).svg Central Queensland Capras
FW Jamil Robinson 21 August 1991 (aged 28)Flag of the United States.svg Brooklyn Kings
BK Marcus Satavu 22 November 1988 (aged 30)Flag of the United States.svg Brooklyn Kings
BK Junior Vaivai 18 January 1990 (aged 29)Flag of France.svg Toulouse Olympique
FW Jerome Veve 2 April 1997 (aged 22)Flag of Australia (converted).svg Souths Logan Magpies
BK David Washington 23 September 1990 (aged 29)Flag of the United States.svg Jacksonville Axemen

Squad selected for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup qualifiers: [13]


Competitive Record

Official rankings as of 9 July 2022
RankChangeTeamPts %
1Steady2.svgFlag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 100.00
2Increase2.svg 1Flag of Tonga.svg  Tonga 68.00
3Decrease2.svg 1Flag of England.svg  England 64.00
4Steady2.svgFlag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 52.00
5Steady2.svgFlag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea 36.00
6Steady2.svgFlag of Fiji.svg  Fiji 29.00
7Increase2.svg 1Flag of Samoa.svg  Samoa 17.00
8Increase2.svg 1Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia 17.00
9Decrease2.svg 2Flag of France.svg  France 16.00
10Increase2.svg 5Flag of Malta.svg  Malta 14.00
11Decrease2.svg 1Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 13.00
12Steady2.svgFour Provinces Flag.svg  Ireland 11.00
13Steady2.svgFlag of Lebanon.svg  Lebanon 11.00
14Steady2.svgFlag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 11.00
15Decrease2.svg 4Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 11.00
16Increase2.svg 7Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 8.00
17Decrease2.svg 1Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 8.00
18Decrease2.svg 1Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic 8.00
19Steady2.svgFlag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 7.00
20Increase2.svg 2Flag of the Cook Islands.svg  Cook Islands 6.04
21Decrease2.svg 3Flag of Jamaica.svg  Jamaica 6.03
22Decrease2.svg 1Flag of Poland.svg  Poland 6.02
23Decrease2.svg 3Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 5.00
24Increase2.svg 2Flag of the Philippines.svg  Philippines 5.00
25Increase2.svg 4Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 4.29
26Decrease2.svg 1Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 4.00
27Decrease2.svg 3Flag of the United States.svg  United States 3.81
28Decrease2.svg 1Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria 3.00
29Decrease2.svg 1Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 3.00
30Increase2.svg 8Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 2.86
31Steady2.svgFlag of Ghana.svg  Ghana 2.85
32Increase2.svg 11Flag of Chile.svg  Chile 2.80
33Steady2.svgFlag of Morocco.svg  Morocco 2.00
34Decrease2.svg 2Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 1.79
35Increase2.svg 2Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary 1.72
36Decrease2.svg 2Flag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon 1.66
37Decrease2.svg 2Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 1.61
38Decrease2.svg 2Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 1.31
39Decrease2.svg 2Flag of the Solomon Islands.svg  Solomon Islands 1.21
40Increase2.svg 2Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 1.06
41Decrease2.svg 2Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria 1.04
42Decrease2.svg 2Flag of Vanuatu.svg  Vanuatu 1.03
43Increase2.svg 1Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina 1.02
44New.pngFlag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro 1.00
45Steady2.svgFlag of Colombia.svg  Colombia 0.50
46Steady2.svgFlag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 0.10
47Decrease2.svg 6Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 0.05
48Decrease2.svg 1Flag of Latvia.svg  Latvia 0.01
Complete rankings at INTRL.SPORT

USA national side's competitive record up to date as of 25 April 2021. [14] [15] [16]

OpponentMatchesWonDrawnLostWin %ForAgainstDifference
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 20020%2498–74
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 24190576%756402+354
Flag of Chile.svg  Chile 1100100%620+62
Flag of the Cook Islands.svg  Cook Islands 310233.33%56122–66
Flag of England.svg  England 10010%0110–110
Flag of Fiji.svg  Fiji 10010%1258–46
Flag of France.svg  France 210150%2249–27
Four Provinces Flag.svg  Ireland 20020%3898–60
Four Provinces Flag.svg Ireland A 740357.14%146118+28
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 30030%22120–98
Flag of Jamaica.svg  Jamaica 860275%269118+151
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 5500100%25244+208
Flag of Lebanon.svg  Lebanon 10010%862–54
Flag of Morocco.svg  Morocco 1100100%5010+40
Tino Rangatiratanga Maori sovereignty movement flag.svg  Māori 10010%2340–17
Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea 10010%064–64
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 50050%70209–139
Flag of Samoa.svg  Samoa 310233.33%3888–50
Flag of Scotland.svg  Scotland 20020%2460+36
Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 1100100%404+36
Flag of Tonga.svg  Tonga 10010%2028–8
Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 310233.33%38174–136

World Cup

The USA have competed in 2 World Cups. In 2007 they entered into qualifying for the 2008 World Cup but were unsuccessful. However, they qualified for the following 2013 World Cup and reached the quarter finals.

Rugby League World Cup Record
Flag of France.svg 1954 Did not participate
Flag of Australia (converted).svg 1957
Flag of England.svg 1960
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Flag of New Zealand.svg 1968
Flag of England.svg 1970
Flag of France.svg 1972
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Flag of New Zealand.svg 1977
Flag of England.svg 1995
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Flag of France.svg 2000
Flag of Australia (converted).svg 2008 Did not qualify
Flag of England.svg Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg 2013 Quarter final5th420264122
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Flag of New Zealand.svg Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg 2017 Group Stage14th300312168
Flag of England.svg 2021 Did not qualify
Flag of France.svg 2025 TBD

Colonial Cup

The Colonial Cup is an international Cup competition between the US and Canada.

Colonial Cup Record
2014Runners up1001
2015Runners up3102

World Cup 9s

Rugby League World Cup 9s Record
Flag of Australia (converted).svg 2019 Group stage 12th300321114

World Nines results

World Sevens results

Student results

Other representative results


Since 2009, the USA have primarily used Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville to host international rugby league matches. [17] Garthwaite Stadium in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania has also hosted several international rugby league fixtures.

See also

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