A FORMER Warrington Wolves player is in the USA Tomahawks 19-man squad for tonight’s friendly against France at Stade de Minimes Toulouse, which will be played in front of a capacity crowd of more than 4,000 people.
This is the Tomahawks’ lone warm-up game before they arriive at their Park Royal Hotel base in Warrington for the final preparations for their debut Rugby League World Cup.
Taylor Welch, a former Academy half back who made one Super League appearance for Wolves on the left wing at Castleford in 2008, is named on the bench.
There are three American-based players in the run-on team in Mark Offerdahl (Connecticut Wildcats), Kristian Freed (Connecticut Wildcats) and Loto Tagaloa (Hawaii Chiefs).
While Philadelphia’s outside back Michael Garvey, who recently moved to Ipswich in Queensland to try and crack the NRL,also gets a start at centre.
There are also four American based players in Craig Priestly (Southhampton Dragons), Taylor Welch (Connecticut Wildcats), Gabriel Farley (Southampton Dragons) and Les Soloai (Portland) on the interchange bench.
The captain of the 19-man team is Parramatta Eels standout Joseph Paulo who will play five-eighth alongside Belrose halfback David Marando.
Ex-Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles fullback Freed is the custodian while Redcliffe Dolphins dynamo Tui Samoa is the hooker.
Captain Paulo said despite limited preparations for this game, which included just two days of training, the team had already bonded.
“I’m so glad to be in camp. I’m here to do a job for Team USA and I’m excited,” Paulo said.
“We have a great group of men here.
“We just got in to camp two days ago and I know the boys are just itching to get out there.”
Wests Tigers hooker Joel Luani and Mangere East Hawks captain Roman Hifo are unavailable for this match due to injury while Clint Newton, Eddy Pettybourne and Ryan McGoldrick are joining the squad on Saturday in Warrington.
The USA's clash against France will be live streamed here: http://ffr13.fr/france-vs-usa-en-streaming-sur-le-site-de-la-ffr-xiii/
Follow the Tomahawks campaign at http://www.facebook.com/USATomahawks and @USATomahawks
USA Tomahawks vs France, 7.30pm (local time), Stade de Minimes Toulouse:
1. Kristian Freed
2. Bureta Faraim
3. Loto Tagaloa
4. Mike Garvey
5. Matt Petersen
6. Joseph Paulo
7. Dave Marando
8. Junior Paulo
9. Tui Samoa
10. Mark Offerdahl
11. Mark Cantoni
12. Matt Shipway
13. Danny Howard
14. Taylor Welch
15. Gabriel Farley
16. Les Soloai
17. Craig Priestly
18. Judah Lavulo
19. Stephen Howard