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In Case You Didn’t Know, U.S. Is In Rugby League World Cup, And They’re Kicking Butt

Like Spartans were born to fight, the Welsh were born only to play rugby — it’s the only thing they’re good at, except for tourism, and harp playing. So imagine the surprise when the U.S. National Team beat Wales 24-16 in the Rugby League World Cup second round earlier today. The U.S. is now 2-0, and looks a cinch to make it to the knockout round. Last week they beat the Cook Islands, which was also an upset. It’s the U.S.’s first appearance in the World Cup.

The U.S. meets Scotland (also 2-0) on Thursday.

Let’s revel in some rugby vernacular:

Samoa took full advantage of Wales’ defensive frailties and dragged several players with him over the try line — the video referee called to confirm he had placed the ball down correctly.

Paulo succeeded with his first conversion of the afternoon before Newton scored his second try of the game.

Craig Priestly broke forward and he found Newton in support to score a fifth American try, which was converted by the impressive Paulo to extend the lead to 20 points.

Wales’ World Cup dreams were slipping away and their afternoon was summed up when Kear, in sight of the try line, knocked on.

Yes, they use video replay (in your face, soccer). And yes, they’re named the Tomahawks: just what we need, another Native American controversy.

It should be noted that the U.S. team is made up mostly of Australian-based players, who can play for the U.S. because they are originally from American-Samoa. But most are also amateurs, and are shocking experts because most of their opponents have many professional players. France, which the U.S. beat in a pre-tournament friendly last week, is considered a national powerhouse.

Oh, and, controversy.

  • Dave

    It’s the rugby league world cup – rugby is a different sport entirely.

  • Rick Chandler

    The rules differ slightly, but it’s basically the same sport. It’s not like we’re talking baseball vs. cricket. Did I refer to it simply as “rugby” somewhere in the post?

  • Dave

    “Did I refer to it simply as “rugby” somewhere in the post?” Yes – in the headline until it was just changed, and in the body of the article.

    And no, they are definitely not basically the same sport.

  • Bradley ODonnell

    Totally different sport Rick. Points system is different, Union is endless tackles League is limited to 6 tackles, Number of players is different, rules are totally different and attacking and defensive structures are different. If they where the same sport there wouldnt be two sports. Apart from some minor errors good job on the article and giving the Tomahawks some publicity in the nation they are representing.

  • Cymro

    Slightly derogatory comment there about the Welsh Rick. In case you didn’t know, five of the first six Presidents of the USA were of Welsh descent.

  • Breno

    Loving seeing the US do so well (and the Scots too). I’m an Aussie married to a Hawaiian, so with the USA playing RL we’ve finally found some sporting middle ground. :)

    Enjoyable light-hearted article.

  • Peter Chatteris

    They are poles apart…. nothing similar apart from running and passing the ball.. and tries… but Rugby is Rugby… NOT league

  • Rick Chandler

    Did you play rugby league? Obviously there are concussion issues, like American football. But we still love you.

  • Rick Chandler

    Did you play rugby league? Obviously there are concussion issues, like American football. But we still love you.

  • Rick Chandler

    So that’s like taking basketball, adding a sixth man, changing the scoring system, and some of the strategy, and calling it “hoopsabout” … it’s still basically basketball. Another good example is Little League. No leadoffs, shorter dimensions, no pickoffs, players have to be in bed by 9:30 and can’t drive a car, still basically baseball. And a wallaby is basically a kangaroo. It’s rugby league … rugby is in the actually name! We could go around on this all day.

  • Rick Chandler

    That can’t be true: the Declaration of Independence has vowels.

  • Splat Gunnz

    They are two completely different sports. Using your analogy, it’s more like Basketball and Netball, as opposed to Basketball and ‘Hoopsabout’. To the untrained eye, sure it’s one and the same. But it’s not.

  • David

    They are not poles apart, they are two different codes of Rugby. not two different sports. Rugby Leagues split from teh Rugby Union when they wanted to go professional

  • David

    A better analogy is American League baseball Vs National League. Same sport two different codes.

  • BeerAndTrembling

    Netball used to be known as “women’s basketball”. No joke.

  • Chris

    They split about 120 years ago! And with over a century of rule changes, they are definitely now considered different sports.

    American football originated from early versions of rugby union in the 19th century – are they the same sport too?

  • Chris


  • Muzza

    Lets not get carried away here. Yes, to those of us from Australia, NZ or UK, the 2 sports are very different. Having played and enjoyed both until late 20′s, I am the first to admit that. But, for our American cousins who may not have been aware of the tournament, lets not split hairs. Its vastly different from NFL or Soccer and with some exposure to either game, hopefully, like me, they will learn to love both.

  • Guest

    They are definitely NOT the same sport. I have been watching League all my life and in recent years have got into American Football – they are completely different but do hold key similarities which I think would help make American’s very good at League – but in terms of the way you play defense, attack, train and how fit you have to be, League is miles more intense.

    Born and bred New Zealander here by the way, GO THE KIWI’S!!! Just like last the World Cup, we start off poor and hit our form for the knockout stages.. Back to back World Cups here we come!! I hope haha.

  • Peter

    Well no. The fundamental difference is the contesting of the ball after a tackle. In union every tackle is a contested possession, it’s not in league. League has no rucks, mauls or lineouts and considering these take up a massive proportion of a game of union it makes it a vastly different sport to watch and play. Personally I find union to be an incredibly dull and boring game but league is my favourite sport.

  • Jamesy

    More similar rules between netball and basketball than union and league. Utterly different sports but all decendants of soccer

  • Ted Baldwin

    Is this on TV in the US?

  • Denno

    Rugby League and Rugby Union are totally different sports. Please get informed before you make a comment. I have watched both sports (League kicks Unions ass to me)

  • Denno

    And if the French is a National Powerhouse .. I wonder what the Australian and New Zealand teams are known as … Super Powerhouses??? France have been struggling for quite a bit, and that is taking into consideration that the France team is made up of 13 or 14 players that play in the same team in the UK super league.

  • Denno

    Just to let you know .. there are differences between Wallabies and Kangaroos …. http://www.diffen.com/difference/Kangaroo_vs_Wallaby

  • Anonymous

    Let me guess, Australia is basically New Zealand, too, right? It’s pretty hard to agrue with someone who is willfully ignorant and comfortable with it.

  • Guest

    ‘Football’ is in the names of both American Football (NFL) and Australian Football (AFL), so I suppose they are basically the same, too? Your argument makes no sense.

  • pickaname

    Wales are obsessed with rugby union. they don’t care about league – look at the empty stands. watch a game between the usa and wales in rugby union and see what happens. the tomahawks were made to look like kids when they were just beaten 62-0 by australia, one of the very few countries that actually has a professional competition. good effort for the amateurs though to not get beaten by even more.

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