Faraimo and Vaivai named in USA squad

Super League duo Bureta Faraimo and Junior Vaivai have both been named in the USA Hawks train-on squad for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup Americas region qualifying series later this year.

The 40-man squad is made up primarily of players from the American domestic league, but also features others based in England, France and Australia and includes 16 of their 24-man squad from last year’s World Cup.

Hull FC’s Faraimo and Hull KR’s Vaivai headline the European-based contingent, with Ryan Burroughs (London Skolars), Corey Makelim, Mark Offerdahl (both Sheffield Eagles), Con Mika, Eddy Pettybourne and Sonny Pettybourne (all Toulouse Olympique) also included.

Hull KR’s Junior Vaivai.

There is also a recall for 2013 World Cup star and Cronulla Sharks back rower Joseph Paulo, who chose instead to play for Samoa in 2017.

The squad is only preliminary, and USARL head coach Sean Rutgerson says all players are being encouraged to monitor their own fitness via a Facebook group to keep coaches updated: “It’s quite a big squad at the moment.

“That’s (Facebook) the way we’ve got to do it here because we can’t get together too much, so if they can’t be bothered doing a 25-minute fitness test then they don’t deserve to be in the running to play for their country.

“It may seem a bit harsh, but if you want to play for your country I don’t think it’s too hard to put in 25 minutes worth of effort and post your score on a Facebook page.

“We only get to train as amateurs over here. We’re on the field twice, maybe three times a week, some guys maybe only once, so the skill level with the ball and practice and all those little bits and pieces is limited, but what’s not limited is the amount of fitness and training you can do yourself.

“We’re fine tuning it as we go. Nothing is perfect, and we still have to rely on the word of trusted people at each team and that’s the way it’s going to go until we get to a situation where we do have proper coverage of all games.”

Full Squad:

Brandon Anderson (Shellharbour Stingrays)
Ryan Burroughs (London Skolars)
Shaniyat Chowdery (Brooklyn Kings)
CJ Cortalano (White Plains Wombats)
Sam Cowley (Atlanta Rhinos)
Dom Defalco (Brooklyn Kings)
Joe Eichner (Junee Diesels)
Ty Elkins (Atlanta Rhinos)
Bureta Faraimo (Hull FC)
Gabe Farley (Philadelphia Fight)
Chris Frazier (Northern Virginia Eagles)
Kristian Freed (Wests Mitchelton)
Alex Foster (New York Knights)
Kyle Grinold (Jacksonville Axemen)
Rich Henson (Philadelphia Fight)
Danny Howard (Wentworthville Magpies)
Taylor Howden (Tigers Rugby Ohio)
Sean Hunt (Atlanta Rhinos)
Tyler Ierardi (Boston 13s)
Andrew Kneisly (Philadelphia Fight)
Bart Longchamp (Tampa Mayhem)
Cory Makelim (Sheffield Eagles)
Con Mika (Toulouse Olympique)
Nick Newlin (Atlanta Rhinos)
Mark Offerdahl (Sheffield Eagles)
Eddy Pettybourne (Toulouse Olympique)
Sonny Pettybourne (Toulouse Olympique)
Joseph Paulo (Cronulla)
John Purnell (Jacksonville Axemen)
Josh Rice (New York Knights)
Marcus Satavu (Brooklyn Kings)
Tim Stubbs (Keighley Cougars)
David Thomas (Jacksonville Axemen)
David Ulch (Tampa Mayhem)
Junior Vaivai (Hull Kingston Rovers)
Pio Vatuvei (Jacksonville Axemen)
Matt Walsh (White Plains Wombats)
David Washington (Jacksonville Axemen)
Terrance Williams (Atlanta Rhinos)