Final team named for HK Sevens competition

| 10/03/2016
CNS Local Life

Cayman’s bowl-winning team at the America’s Cup in Las Vegas (back row, L-R) Jeffrey Robinson, Mark Westin, Chris Palmer, Jon Murphy, Darien Montaque, Edward Westin and Venasio Tokatokavanua; (kneeling, L-R) Shane Westin, Keswick Wright, Will Hayward and Alex Pineau

(CNS): After watching their team compete in the Las Vegas Invitational sevens last weekend against international opponents, Cayman’s rugby coaches have selected the players who will be participating in the Hong Kong Sevens tournament set for 8-10 April. Out of the 31 players divided among three teams who lasted through a total of 14 matches over the two days, the coaches have whittled the final numbers to 14 plus six non-travelling reserves.

The Cayman players competed in the America’s Cup division in Las Vegas against a few of the teams they may meet in Hong Kong next month including Chile, Germany and Fiji.

On the first day of the Las Vegas tournament, Richard “Grizz” Adams, coach of the Cayman Sevens team, explained they fielded three teams to give all players as much opportunity to perform in front of the selectors, who moved everyone through different positions and among the three competing squads. This was done to enable the coaches to produce two relatively balanced teams on day two and to be able to select the final 14 players to travel to Hong Kong.

The teams played a total of nine matches on day one and five on day two with the Cayman 1 team winning the bowl final and the Cayman 2 squad making the plate semi-final.

Adams summed up the two days of competition. “The guys played very well considering. It is not easy for them when we the selectors are changing up players and combinations; it never really allows the teams to settle into a pattern of play. However, having said this, we were delighted with the manner in which the guys handled it all and got on with the job,” he said.

The coach added that it was important that they give everyone a chance to compete “to show us what they have at different levels and in different positions as we have to pick a balanced squad that can meet all the criteria needed”.

Explaining that the strategy may not translate into success on the pitch for a particular match, he said it was necessary for the selection process. “The level of complexity when selecting a squad is massive; it’s not as simple as selecting the best 12 players,” Adams said, adding that the coaches have to plan for such occurrences as injuries, pointing to the benefits of players who can play more than one position well.

The coaches also look for the “right mix of speed, power, endurance, strength and skill as a whole and every player has to add to the equation and not take away from it”, he explained, adding, “When you start to consider all of these criteria some players prove to be well rounded and some do not.”

As for the team’s overall performance at the invitational, Adams said, “Yes, we did not win as many games as we would have liked but we feel very confident that every player was offered the opportunity to make a case for themselves last weekend and over the past few months, and we stand by the selections as a well-balanced squad.”

At the moment, the team consists of 12 players travelling to Hong Kong, with a further two waiting on injury reports for a final decision, the coach said, adding that to ensure the team has depth of replacements, there are six non-travelling reserves.

All 20 players have been accredited with the Hong Kong tournament, allowing the coaches to change the selections for the final 14 in case of loss of form or injury over the next four weeks.

The Borrelli Walsh Cayman Islands Rugby Sevens Hong Kong squad:

Mark Soto, Paul Westin, Justin Wight, Iain Currie, Alex Harvey, Joel Clark, Abdul Patterson, Cueme Parker, Josh Brown, Chris Bunce, Jonathan Murphy & Robbie Cribb.

Awaiting injury report:

Morgan Hayward, Dow Travers

Non-travelling reserves:

Darien Montaque, Shane Westin, Kramer Bell, Josh Clark, Chris Palmer & Edward Westin

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Category: Rugby, Sports

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