California Rugby League Launches 2021 CRL World Championship
December 2019 saw the first game of Rugby League played in California for some time. There were occasional test matches, mentions of 9’s in the Fijian community and a Western USA vs Western Canada games. However, since 1954 when Mike Dimitro assembled the USA All Stars there has been limited sustained efforts to establish the sport in California.
When San Francisco took on Los Angeles on a raining day in Orinda, California in front of a 500-strong crowd it certainly seemed the wheels were in motion for a sustained effort for the sport in California. Then along came 2020. You all know that story.
Here we are today - 565 days after that historic game - on the cusp of kicking off for the 'Mine Digital' California Rugby League World Championship.
The League will be 15 games running from June till September featuring teams from Sacramento, East Palo Alto, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and North Bay.
With the top ranked teams playing it out for the trophy in September.
Here are the teams and players to watch.
East Palo Alto Razorbacks
- Sione Finefeuiaki (Oklahoma State University Football)
- Ed Tandy (Cal Berkley Football)
San Francisco Savage
- Villiami Paea (Texas A&M Football)
- Akuila Uaisele (Tonga RL)
- Viliami Soaki (Tonga 7's)
North Bay Dead Pelicans
- Lo James
Los Angeles Mongrel
- Emiliano Nash (Giltinis Academy)
Sacramento Young Tigers
- Estephen Lopa (Sacramento Pro Rugby)
- Mikaele Lomano (USA Rugby U23’s)
- Andre Whaley (MLR)
- Puna Vuli (MLR)
San Diego Barracudas
- Brian ‘JAMROCK’ Hutch (Jamaica & Jacksonville Axemen)
- Ben Calverley (Oxford University)