Jamaica ready for historic home test

Jamaica and Canada have named their squads for the second match in the 2017 Americas Championships, as they prepare to face each other in what will be the Reggae Warriors’ historic first home Test, at the Mona Bowl, University of West Indies, Kingston on Saturday (kick off 4pm).  

Jamaica assistant coach Roy Calvert is hoping that the hosts, who are ranked 17th in the world, can put in a solid display against Canada – ranked four places higher – after their 48-6 defeat to USA in Florida last month in game one.

“We were very disappointed with our efforts,” Calvert acknowledged. “But we have always been competitive in our games against Canada and hopefully playing our first full international on home soil will provide us with that extra drive to ensure that we do our country proud”.

Three potential debutants are named in the Jamaican squad in Steve Miller, Mathew McFarlane and Ethon Dwyer, although veteran centre Renaldo Wade will miss the game as he has not recovered from a fractured cheek bone, as will powerful winger Keta Bryan after fracturing an ankle against the USA. Aaron Jones-Bishop from UK League 1 side Doncaster is in line to play having scored a hat trick against Wales in his last outing, and the bulk of the squad come from local side Duhaney Park Red Sharks.

The visitors are mindful of the part they are playing in the sport’s history. Canada Rugby League Association president Paul O’Keefe noted: “CRLA is very proud to be playing a role in this initial Test match on Jamaican soil. Jamaica is doing great things with grassroots rugby league here and I am sure this game will assist our sport to grow even further in the region.”

Canada coach Ben Fleming, who is wary of a home backlash and that the Warriors’ match with the USA Hawks was tight up to half time, has named debutants Emil Borggren, Matt Gallagher, Jordan Henry and Ryan Murray, in a squad he is confident can win. “We’ve worked hard at standardising our provincial training programmes and I’ve really focused hard on building the right culture,” he said. “I’d like to think that it transcends into playing well on the field. The players have all brought into the new way forward so it’s looking healthy.”

Six domestic clubs are represented in the Wolverines squad, seven of them from Toronto RLC.

JAMAICA 19-MAN SQUAD

Aaron Jones-Bishop (Doncaster RLFC), Andre McFarlane, Andrew Simpson, Leon Thomas, Fabion Turner, Jason Gooden, Jermaine Pinnock, Joseph Shae, Kenneth Walker, Khamisi Mckain, Owen Linton (Duhaney Park Red Sharks), Chevuaghn Bailey, Kareem Harris, Steve Miller (GC Foster College Lions), Ethon Dwyer (Jamaica Defence Force), Adrian Hall, (Liguanea Dragons and University of the West Indies) Marvin Thompson, Mathew McFarlane (University Of Technology) Tyronie Rowe  (Vauxhall Vultures).

CANADA 18-MAN SQUAD

Chuck Curran, Denny McCarthy, Eric Moyer (Brantford Broncos), Jack Couzens, Joel Hulett (Capilano Cougars), Jeff Lohse, Rick Schoten (Kelowna Roosters), Eddie Bilborough, Emil Borggren, Jon Cregg, Tony Felix, Cam Grace, Jordan Henry, Ryan Murray (Toronto RLC), Matt Gallagher (Valley Warriors), Scyler Dumas, Kevin Gurniak (Vancouver Dragons)

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