Smith to lead USA at Rugby League World Cup

Last updated 03:10 23/08/2013

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Veteran NRL coach Brian Smith will steer the United States in their first appearance at a Rugby League World Cup later this year.

Smith's appointment was announced on Thursday night, just over two months before the Tomahawks make their debut at the 14-team tournament to be held in Europe.

The 59-year-old, who most recently was a defensive consultant to Super Rugby club the Brumbies after coaching seven rugby league teams over 20 years, replaces Warriors mentor Matt Elliott.

"The potential for the game in America is enormous," Smith said in a statement.

"American people go nuts over rugby league.

"I have had long running connections to the game in America, beginning with a great friendship with Mike Mayer who was one of the men who introduced the game to the USA in the 1970s.

"I have been to America many times and I always take videos with me and, when you actually sit down and explain the strategy, they truly embrace and understand it."

The Tomahawks squad will contain a mix of domestic and overseas-based players including Parramatta utility Joseph Paulo and Penrith backrower Clint Newton, who was born in South Carolina.

Ranked 10th in the world, the US will face the Cook Islands in Bristol on October 30, followed by pool matches against Wales and Scotland.

Smith last coached the Sydney Roosters, taking them to the 2010 grand final, while he's also led the St George Dragons (1992-93) and Parramatta (2001) to the season decider without winning a premiership.

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- AAP

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