The CRLA are pleased to announce the 2016 International Schedule for the Canada Wolverines.
The big news is that the Canada Wolverines will play 7 games against International opposition in 2016! This is the biggest Rugby League season in Canada’s short history! Also important is the return to International games being played at Lamport Stadium in Toronto! There will be 4 big events at Lamport Stadium, which gives Rugby League fans in Toronto and across Southern Ontario the opportunity to come out and show their support for the Canada Wolverines!
After pushing very hard to make the New America’s Cup Tournament a reality, the Wolverines are now certain of 3 Internationals each year! This could be extended to 4 Internationals each year as the Canada Wolverines will make their first appearance in the Ohana Cup Festival in Hawaii.
We are hoping that our regular involvement will be confirmed in this annual event later this year, as the event is a double header with 4 International teams playing at the same venue! The event is a 2 day festival which starts on Friday August 19th with a Cultural Event & Live Concert and leads into the 2nd day August 20th being Canada’s biggest ever challenge in International Rugby League. The Canada Wolverines (RLIF Ranked 13th) will play Fiji (RLIF Ranked 6th) in a RLIF fully sanctioned International match! This would normally be a huge test for Canada but to make it even a tougher assignment, due to the original date of this tournament being changed after the playing surface at Aloha Stadium being upgraded, Canada will now be split into two squads with the Wolverines (Eastern Canada Squad) playing England Lionhearts in Toronto on the same day as the Wolverines (Western Canada Squad) play Fiji. This has put the CRLA into a very difficult situation as the game in Toronto was already confirmed & booked on the same day but the Canadian players love a challenge! Canada is going full out for victory and has called upon their 2015 World Cup Qualifiers Head Coach Aaron Zimmerle to Coach the Wolverines in Hawaii. Zimmerle is looking forward to the challenge and commented, ” To work with the Canada Wolverines is a privilege and I thank the CRLA for this opportunity.” He will have former BC Bulldogs Coach Luke Gray as his assistant coach. Gray’s knowledge of all the players from Western Canada will be very important in assisting Zimmerle work on a game plan to pull off the Rugby League upset of the year, if they defeat Fiji in Hawaii. Canada Head Coach Jamie Lester will Coach the Wolverines in Toronto and Andy Blackburn his assistant will also be in Toronto. The England Lionhearts are always tough opposition and the Wolverines will be striving to pick up their first win against the touring team especially as it will be the first home game for the Wolverines in 2 years!
CRLA President Paul O’Keefe says, “This is a one off situation that was caused by circumstances completely out of both the promoters and our control. The change of dates of the Hawaii event was not ideal for us but when someone offers your Nation the opportunity to play against Fiji and being able to participate in such a great event, a solution needed to be found! The only other option would be to pull out of one of these games and when your a young Rugby League Nation you need to accept opportunities for games especially after working so hard to bring touring teams to Canada. I genuinely think our players are good enough and if they play to their full potential they can step up to take on this challenge and win both these games! Whatever the results, our players will come away with valuable experience! It also means we can offer opportunities to more of our players to see who is up to playing at this high level.”
The 2016 Canada Wolverines International season commences on July 16th vs Jamaica and finishes on October 15th vs South Wales Scorpions. An announcement on where to purchase tickets for games at Lamport Stadium in Toronto will be made early in June.
The full season schedule is;
July 16th vs Jamaica at Pennsylvania, USA – 3pm kick off
August 20th vs England Lionhearts at Lamport Stadium, Toronto 7pm
August 20th vs Fiji at Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii 6.30pm
September 3rd vs England Young Lions at Lamport Stadium, 7pm
September 24th vs USA Hawks at Lamport Stadium, 7pm (Presentation of America’s Cup)
October 1st vs USA Hawks at TBA in USA (Presentation of Colonial Cup)
October 15th vs South Wales Scorpions at Lamport Stadium, 7pm