Details have been confirmed for the 2018 Americas Championship, that will act as a qualifier for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
The University of North Florida, Jacksonville, will host two double-header rounds on 13th and 17th November 2018 to determine which one of the four nations will qualify automatically, and which other has the opportunity to progress through a repechage in 2019.
In the opening games, Canada will face Jamaica and USA take on newcomers Chile, the first South American representatives.
The winners will face each other for the right to qualify or gain a second chance, whilst the losers will also meet in a rankings Test match.
Much of the attention will focus on the appearance of the Chileans, who gained Affiliate status of the Rugby League International Federation earlier this year and where the sport is starting to make rapid strides.
The USA has twice hosted qualifiers, winning both to advance to the Rugby League World Cup in 2013 and again in 2017. In 2011, they defeated Jamaica and South Africa in Philadelphia, and in 2015 beat Canada and Jamaica in Jacksonville.
USA Hawks head coach Sean Rutgerson noted: “We have a great record here and this is where we qualified last time. UNF have great facilities and the city of Jacksonville responded enthusiastically to being named the host city.”
A comprehensive 11–try win by Greece (v Malta) at the Glyka Stadium in Athens ensured that they finished top of European Group C – South, and will now face Norway in the play offs on neutral territory, most likely next spring.
Norway overturned their negative eight points difference with a stunning second half performance to outgun favourites Germany in Porsgrunn.
Duhaney Park defeated the Jamaica Defence Force Warriors 56-12 in the JRLA Grand Final to take the RLATG crown. In so doing, the Red Sharks have now won the title a record six times.
Played in front of large and energetic crowd at the Duhaney Park Mini Stadium, the Red Sharks dominated from the start on the back of superb interplay between their three quarters. They were comfortably ahead 28-6 at the interval, and the second half saw them continue to dominate.
Serbia and Spain have announced their 19-man squads for the 2021 World Cup Qualifier showdown at the Makis Stadium in Belgrade tomorrow (Saturday). All three nations in European Championship B are tied on two points, with the Serbians needing to beat their opponents by a difference of 14 to retain their title, and move on to the next stage of World Cup qualification in 2019.
Russia currently head the group after defeating Serbia 36-18 in Moscow last weekend, having fallen to Spain in Valencia, 32-24, in the opening fixture. As two nations progress to join Italy, Greece/Malta and the bottom two sides from the European Championship (involving France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales) next autumn, the Bears will be hoping that the clash in the Serbian capital does not end in a draw.
SERBIA 19-MAN SQUAD
Jason Muranka (Doncaster RLFC, UK), Dalibor Vukanovic, Milos Aleksic, Stevan Stevanovic (Dorcol, Serbia), Djordje Stosic (Falcon VR, Serbia), Brandon Janjic (Hills Bulls, Australia), lija Radan (Narrabeen sharks, Australia), Dzavid Jasari, Nikola Srbljanin, Vladimir Milutinovic, Vlado Kusic (Partisan, Serbia), Aleksandar Djordjevic, Milos Calic, Milos Zogovic, Predrag Keglic, Rajko Trifunovic, Vojislav Dedic, (Red Star, Serbia), David Andjelic (St Patricks Blacktown, Australia), Jonathan Kress (Wentworthville Magpies, Australia)
SPAIN 19-MAN SQUAD
Antonio Puerta, Juan Mudarra, Rafael Garcia, (Custodians RL) Aitor Romero, Daniel Morales, Hadriel Mehamed, Raul Simo, Ivan Ordaz (Torrent Tigres), Adriá Alonso, Carlos Font, Fernando Vidal (Xativa Roosters),Miguel Olivares (Valencian Warriors), Chris Lopez (Eastmoor Dragons) Kevin Aparicio (Unattached) Daniel Garcia, Alex Doutres (Palau) Luc Franco (Limoux) Anthony Delgado (Carcassone) Romain Pallares (Toulouse Olympique)
The first-ever South American participants, Chile, have named their squad for the 2018 Americas Championship, which will also act as a qualifier for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England.
The University of North Florida, Jacksonville, will host two double-header rounds on 13th and 17th November 2018, and in the opening fixtures Chile take on the hosts USA, the winners facing either Jamaica or Canada.
CHILE 21-MAN TRAIN-ON SQUAD
Jonathan Espinoza (Balmoral RLFC), Iziah Catrileo, Bradley Millar, Trent Millar (Brothers Mustangs RLFC), Thomas Garrido, James Horvat (Corrimal Cougars RLFC), Eugene Araya, Chris Brantes, Patrick Camaano, Mana Castillo-Sioni, Nick Doberer, Jaden Laing, Jose Nitor-Alvear, Brandon Tobar (Latin Heat RLFC), Francisco Leiva (Maquinarias RLFC), Piero Diaz (Mariman RLFC), Taylor Salas (Ngen Mapu RLFC), Ferec Cavezas (Rhinos RLFC), Junior Sandoval (Sunbury Tigers RLFC), Zecil Yao (Toros RLFC), Eddie Wegener (West Belconnen Warriors RLFC)
Dalton Grant (Bradford Bulls), Rhys Gant, James Mason, Liam Rice-Wilson, Chris Vitalini (Coventry Bears), Josh Ralph (Easts Tigers), Chester Butler, Connor Davies, Curtis Davies, Dan Fleming, Sion Jones (Halifax), Ben Evans, Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams (London Broncos), Elliot Jenkins (Rochdale Hornets), Gavin Bennion (Salford Red Devils), Ben Morris (St Helens), Rhodri Lloyd (Swinton Lions), Jake Emmitt (Toronto Wolfpack), Courtney Davies (unattached), James Olds (West Brisbane Panthers), Morgan Evans, Steve Parry (West Wales Raiders), Gil Dudson, Lloyd White (Widnes Vikings).
USA 30-MAN TRAIN-ON SQUAD
Sean Hunt, Nick Newlin (Atlanta Rhinos), Ryan Burroughs (Barrow Raiders), Mike Elias (Boston 13s), Brandon Anderson, Rafeal Mendez, Jay Robinson, Dane Wilcoxen (Brooklyn Kings), Jerome Veve (Burleigh Bears), Joel Luani (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Chris Wiggins (Delaware Black Foxes), Bureta Faraimo (Hull FC), Junior Vai Vai (Hull KR), Kyle Grinold, David Washington (Jacksonville Axemen), Joe Eichner (Junee Diesels), Chris Frazier (NOVA Eagles), Kyle Denham, Andrew Kneisly (Philadelphia Fight), Cory Makelim, Mark Offerdahl (Sheffield Eagles), Curtis Goddard (Southwest Florida Copperheads), Connor Donehue (Sunshine Coast Falcons), Cody Blackwell, Justin Branca (Tampa Mayhem), Eddie Pettyborne, Sonny Pettybourne (Toulouse Olympique), Danny Howard (Wentworth Magpies), Kristian Freed (Wests Mitchelton), CJ Cortalano (White Plains Wombats)
FRANCE 35-MAN TRAIN-ON SQUAD
Louis Jouffret (Batley Bulldogs), Bastien Escamilla (Carcassonne XIII), Lucas Albert, Jason Baitieri, Alrix Da Costa, Tony Gigot, Mickael Goudemand, Benjamin Jullien (Dragons Catalans), Hakim Miloudi (Hull FC), Ilies Bergal (Leigh Centurions), Thomas Lasvenes, Alexandre Mickalezyk, Benjamin Vergniol, Valentin Yesa (XIII Limouxin), Mendy Saloty (SO Avignon), Lambert Belmas, Jordan Flovie, Thibault Margalet, Arthur Romano, Paul Seguier (St Esteve XIII Catalan), Theo Fages (St Helens), Bastien Ader, William Barthau, Charles Bouzinac, Bastien Canet, Rhys Curran, Paul Marcon, Gavin Marguerite, Anthony Marion, Tony Maurel, Maxime, Puech, Stanislas Robin, Justin Sangare (Toulouse Olympique XIII), Morgan Escare, Romain Navarette (Wigan Warriors)
IRELAND 35-MAN TRAIN-ON SQUAD
Sean O’Sullivan, Connor Smyth (Athy Sharks), Michael Ward (Batley Bulldogs) Chris Hall, Connor Phillips (Belfast Stags), Joe Keyes, Gregg McNally, Ethan Ryan (Bradford Bulls RL), Peter Ryan (Coventry Bears RL/ Galway tribesmen), Aaron Ryan (Dublin City Exiles) Ryan Guilfoyle, Ed O’Keefe, Roy Stanley (Galway Tribesmen), Ronan Michael (Huddersfield Giants RL /Longhorns RL), Lewis Bienek (Hull FC), Api Pewhairangi (London Broncos RL), Andrew Coade, Matt Connelly, Gareth Gill, Richie McHugh, James Mulvany, Kevin Varga (Longhorns RL), Tyrone McCarthy (Salford Red Devils), James Bentley (St Helens), Will Hope (Swinton Lions), Liam Finn, Scott Grix, Luke Hooley (Wakefield Trinity), George King, Pat Moran (Warrington Wolves), Alan McMahon (Waterford Vikings), Callum Mulkeen (West Wales Raiders), Callum O’Neill (Widnes Vikings) Liam Byrne, Declan O’Donnell (Wigan Warriors)
CANADA 30-MAN TRAIN-ON SQUAD
Jason Hignell, Connor Hunter, Shaun McKenzie , Rick Schouten (Abbotsford Griffins), Ash Calvert (Berowra Wallabies), Christian Miller, Jason Park (Brantford Broncos), Josh Kelly (Calgary Cowboys), Jack Couzens, Kimi Vunitiranga (Coastal Cougars), Brad Austin (Halswell Hornets), Louis Robinson (London Skolars), Wes Black, Joel Hulett (Ourimbah Magpies) Cam Grace, Danny Tupou (Scarborough Centurions), Rhys Jacks (Sunshine Coast Falcons), Eddie Bilborough, Antoine Blanc, Emil Borggren, Andrew Giguere, Michael Mastroianni (Toronto City Saints), Quinn Ngawati (Toronto Wolfpack), Jordan Drew (Townsville Blackhawks), Ruairi McGoff (Ulverston RL), Sean McInroy (Unattached), Joey Murphy (Valley Warriors), Scyler Dumas, Matthew Liszt, Andrew Porter (Vancouver Dragons)
The 2018 European Championship match officials list has been confirmed, with the group drawn from seven of the RLEF's member federations, the most diverse representation ever.
A number of graduates from the RLEFs part EU-funded technical development programmes will feature after the appointments were made by the recently formed RLEF Match Officials Panel, made up of Steve Ganson (RFL), Mohammed Drizza (FFRXIII) and Tom Mather (RLEF).
The European Championship matches kicked off on Saturday also double as 2021 Rugby League World Cup qualifiers. Butler noted: “The RLEF has a target of at least one match official graduating from its various education programmes being involved in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, and the appointments for this year's European Championship point to that being achievable."
A Frenchman, Benjamin Casty - brother of Catalans Dragons skipper and recently retired international Remi - will referee a European Championship game for the first time since the RLEF was created.
Andrew Pilkington (Spain) will touch judge, whilst Jarda Bzoch (Czech Republic) will be one of the reserve officials as will Guido Bonatti (Italy). Both Pilkington and Bonatti have refereed Euro B and Euro C games this season. Irish duo Paul Causby and Eamonn Whelan, and Welshman Jamie Jones will also act as reserve officials.
The appointments also see the largest contingent of French officials selected for a European Championship, with six being involved. Furthermore, Geoffrey Poumes will also travel to the USA to be part of the MO squad for the 2021 RLWC Americas qualifying games.
Canada has confirmed their 21-man playing squad and backroom staff for the 2018 Americas Championship, which will also act as qualifiers for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
CANADA 21-MAN SQUAD
Shaun McKenzie, Rick Schouten (Abbotsford Griffins, Canada); Christian Miller, Jason Park (Brantford Broncos, Canada); Ash Calvert (Berowra Wallabies, Australia); Josh Kelly (Calgary Cowboys, Canada); Jack Couzens (Coastal Cougars, Canada); Brad Austin (Halswell Hornets, New Zealand); Louis Robinson (London Skolars, UK); Wes Black, Joel Hulett (Ourimbah Magpies, Australia); Rhys Jacks (Sunshine Coast Falcons, Australia); Eddie Bilborough, Antoine Blanc, Emil Borggren, Michael Mastroianni (Toronto City Saints, Canada); Jordan Drew (Townsville Blackhawks, Australia); Ruairi McGoff (Ulverston RL, UK); Sean McInroy (Unattached, Australia); Scyler Dumas, Andrew Porter (Vancouver Dragons, Canada)