The USA Hawks and Cook Islands Kukis have announced their squads for the qualification game to decide the 16th and final place at Rugby League World Cup 2021.
The game will be held in Jacksonville, Florida on November 16th.
Cook Islands head into the game after defeating South Africa in the last eliminator game and head coach, Tony Iro has emphasised the importance of this game to both teams, saying:
“We are looking forward to what will be a tight contest with two nations desperate to progress to the next World Cup. All of our players are excited about the challenge of playing in the US and hope we can make the match a great spectacle for all.”
The USA Hawks are licking their wounds having lost out on the automatic qualification place to Jamaica. They have home advantage for the game, but head coach Sean Rutgerson recognises the size of the challenge and is looking forward to the game with great relish, saying:
“We are looking forward to the challenge of taking on the Cook Islands, especially as they are pretty much all full-time players.
“We have a couple of new players in the squad and I’m looking forward to seeing them play. Elijah Ieriko , is from the Cronulla Sharks and we are really happy to be able to bring in another young player who we hope to be able to have with us for years to come. Eddie Pettybourne’s younger brother Sonny is also coming over, he has a lot of experience to bring to the team.
“We can’t wait to get into camp and start working hard.”
USA 25-MAN SQUAD
Nick Newlin (Atlanta Rhinos) Brandon Anderson, Connor Donehue, Alex Foster, Kevin Reed Jr, Jamil Robinson, Tim Stubbs (Brooklyn Kings), Sonny Pettybourne (Burleigh Bears), Edward Pettybourne (Central Queensland Capras), Elijah Ieriko (Cronulla Sharks), Mark Offerdahl (Goondiwindi Boars), Bureta Faraimo (Hull FC), Rory Humphreys (Ipswich Jets), Charlie Jones, Khalial Harris (Jacksonville Axemen), Joe Eichner (Northern Pride), Ryan Burroughs (NOVA Eagles), Andrew Kneisly (Philadelphia Fight), Matt Shipway (Port Macquarie Sharks), Corey Makelim (Sheffield Eagles), Jerome Veve (South Logan Magpies), Justin Branca (Tampa Mayhem), Danny Howard (Wentworthville Magpies), Kristian Freed (West’s Mitchelton), Matt Walsh (White Plains Wombats)
COOK ISLANDS 19-MAN SQUAD
Sam Mataora (Belconnen), Alex Glenn (Brisbane), Tevin Arona (Canterbury), Aaron Teroi (Central Queensland Capras) Reuben Rennie, Vincent Rennie (Mounties), Uiti Baker, Kayal Iro (Newcastle), Moses McGreal, Paul Ulberg (Norths Devils), Narata Niukore, Brad Takairangi (Parramatta), Dominic Peyroux (St Helens), Troy Dargan, Steven Marsters (South Sydney), Adam Tangata (Wakefield), Anthony Gelling (Warrington), Journe Pua, Brodie Tamarua (Warriors)