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USA Tomahawks shock France in World Rugby League Cup warm-up

The United States Tomahawks suggested they might not be the expected easybeats in their World Cup debut this autumn, and added considerably to their credibility, by stunning France 22-18 in a warm-up match in Toulouse.

The Tomahawks have suffered a disrupted and occasionally divisive buildup, losing two Australian coaches when both Matthew Elliott and Brian Smith declared themselves unavailable, and enduring bitter criticism for their selection policy from several US-based players who were omitted from the squad. But the first game in charge for Terry Matterson, the former Brisbane and London Broncos loose forward, and Castleford coach, proved a completely unexpected triumph – although the defeat will put pressure on France's English coach Richard Agar before his first competitive fixture.

Matterson was not even able to select a full-strength team as three of his squad's senior players – Ryan McGoldrick, Eddy Pettybourne and Clint Newton, the South Carolina-born son of the former Australian golfer Jack – were unavailable. But a Tomahawks team including eight US-based players sealed a famous victory with a try from the Connecticut Wildcats full-back Kristian Freed. They now head for their competition base in Widnes before group fixtures against Wales in Wrexham, Scotland in Salford and first the Cook Islands at Bristol's Memorial Stadium on Wednesday week.

France, for whom William Barthau scored two tries but Thomas Bosc kicked unusually poorly, open their campaign against Papua New Guinea at Craven Park in Hull next Sunday before returning home for games against New Zealand in Avignon and Samoa in Perpignan.

The Guardian 
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