Coach Purtill puts Canada squad through the ringer


St Helen's RLFC is a long way from Toronto.  A little over 24 hours after landing in Canada's largest city coach Purtill took control of his first Team Canada practice ahead of the 2010 Atlantic Cup.  "Personally it is great honour to be involved in the rebirth of Canadian Rugby League onto the International stage, and to try and help and offer advice for the improvement of the domestic game and players." Purtill said after the 2 hour training session. 

"One thing that has definitely met my expectations and even gone above them is the commitment and enthusiasm shown by all involved from the administration to coaching and especially the players. The commitment of these guys to give up their time and face potential conflict with union is unwavering. To be told that some players travel by car for between 3-4 hours one way for 1 ½ hour training sessions blew me away and shows the passion that is simmering under the surface for rugby league in Canada.” 

There can be no doubt, the Canadian players will benefit from having a coach of such strong pedigree working with them. Purtill's credentials are superb, having played halfback for Leigh Centurions and having coached in Super League for the last 7 years, including stints with Huddersfield Giants and currently as an assistant coach with St Helen's Saints.   

When asked to comment on the standard of the group he is working with Purtill had this to say; “On the players we are just scratching the surface of potential for Canada Rugby League. If this group of players are to be judged and set the bench for others to follow then that bench has been set high. There is already a good basic foundation of core skill in place and the sheer size and athleticism of some of the athletes is exceptional. Given time to adapt to the simple rules of Rugby League, speed, pace and the contact involved, Rugby League has the potential to grow and compete in this sports loving country.”  With the Atlantic Cup a week away Kieron Purtill's involvement means an under dog Canadian squad will have even more confidence heading into this massive tournament.  

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