Rugby League can make it big in the USA and North America, says first transatlantic sports team, Toronto Wolfpack

ryan-burroughs-toronto-wolfpackRYAN Burroughs believes the Toronto Wolfpack could pave the way for rugby league to make it big Stateside.

The Canadian-based side faces its first Super League opponent today in a trial game against Challenge Cup winners Hull.

Wolfpack enter League One this year, becoming the first transatlantic side in any professional sports league.

They have already showed their commitment to talent by taking on Canadian, American and Jamaican players, some through a series of tryouts for a reality TV show.

And American Burroughs, who captains the USA Hawks side, believes the code can make it big – with the Wolfpack just the start.

He said: “I’m not surprised at all about the interest in us.

“I feel like it’s just a matter of time before rugby league kicks off in North America but I’ve already seen people who’d never played it before get into it.

“A couple have even started playing at the club in America that I was at – and over here I haven’t seen too much negative stuff.”

Toronto have been building up for their big debut over here, basing their players in Huddersfield and having opposed training sessions against Halifax and Huddersfield Giants.

It has already been a big step up for Burroughs, who had a stint in Australia playing for second tier side Wentworthville.

The winger, who only started playing rugby league four years ago after playing American Football, added: “For me, it’s going to be a pretty big step up and I haven’t seen how League One sides play, just a Championship one in Halifax and a Super League one in Huddersfield.

“The sessions were really good and we’ve got a lot out of them. There were things to work on after the first one against Halifax but we improved and kicked on again against Huddersfield.

“Everyone’s getting to know each other, it feels like we’ve been playing together for a while, even though we’ve just met.

“Hull will be a good match up for us. They’re a very physical team – they run hard and hit hard but it’s been awesome over here, even though it’s been a little bit colder than I’d like.

“I played in Australia under Alex Chan, who told me a lot of the smaller things to look for in games.

“The excitement level is definitely rising. Everyone at the captain’s run was pretty switched on, while normally the mornings can be pretty groggy.”

While Burroughs, who hails from Virginia, is just starting out in professional rugby league, team-mate Fuifui Moimoi has just about done the lot over the course of a glittering career.

But there are no delusions of grandeur from the Tonga international, as his new team-mate found out.

Burroughs said: “It’s an honour to play alongside Fui, just to say I’ve played in the same team as him is awesome.

“He’s done everything – but he’s one of the most laid back guys I’ve ever met!”

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