Canada will host three fellow Americas teams at the inaugural Americas Nines Championship this May. Americas Championship stalwarts USA, Canada and Jamaica along with Emerging Nations side Latin Heat will compete across nine matches and four hours of action.
Josh Knight, Vice President of Canada Rugby League welcomed the event, saying: “Rugby League Nines is an exciting spectacle for the fans and we are ecstatic to showcase the international version of this game to the fantastic rugby league fans at Lamport Stadium, affectionately known to Toronto Wolfpack supporters as The Den.”
“Wolverines are known to protect their dens and we will certainly do that come May 18th, when we attempt to win this wonderful tournament,” Mr Knight added.
Jamaica head coach Romeo Monteith says the tournament is a landmark event for the region as it looks to bolster a rolling calendar of competition which includes a Nines tournament every two years.
“This tournament brings an exciting product to the Americas and offers players, fans and sponsors a great chance to further celebrate and grow the standing and rugby league in the Americas,” Mr Monteith enthused.
Off the back of a successful Americas Championship campaign in November, Jamaica Reggae Warriors believe they have what it takes to dominate the Nines format as well.
“We are looking forward to Jamaica’s participation in the Nines; we have all the attributes suited for this version of the game – pace, skill, strength and talent,” Jamaica RL Vice Chairman Adrian Hall said, “and this is what we will bring to the tournament.”
Jamaica will face tough competition as the USA Hawks and Canada Wolverines look to redeem themselves.
The Americas Rugby League Nines Cup will take place every two years beginning in 2019 at Lamport Stadium in Toronto. Countries participating are Jamaica, USA, Canada plus the combined Latin American team which has been running since 2013s. The 2021 Americas Rugby League Nines Cup is looking to include more South American countries plus women’s teams.
USARL chairman Peter Illfield agrees the tournament provides opportunity for growth. “This event provides the Americas an opportunity to look ahead to 2021 with the USA hosting the Americas Nines. This should include more South America participants and hopefully the introduction of Women’s Nines Championship and Armed Forces Cup.”
“It’s an opportunity to expose additional players to high level football and we look forward in playing our part in growing rugby league in the America’s through this exciting new tournament.”