Cayman set to host rugby sevens this weekend

| 05/07/2019
CNS Local Life
Cayman’s sevens team in action

(CNS Local Life): Cayman is playing host to an international rugby sevens tournament this weekend which will be a regional qualifying event for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The 2019 Rugby Americas North Sevens, set for 6-7 July, will feature eight men’s and six women’s teams playing a total of 42 matches at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.

Jovan Bowles, coach of the Cayman men’s team, spoke of the 12 players selected to participate in the tournament: “We have a strong base of players who have been involved in the system since the tender age of 8 to 10 years old and now they have developed over the last 16 years through competition, through lots of repetition of game time,” he told CNS, adding, “A lot of them are very excited with the opportunity to show their worth on home soil. We don’t get many opportunities like this to play in an international tournament here in the Cayman Islands.”

The men will be split into two pools, with the four teams in each group ranked by total points (three for a win, one for a draw) after the first day of matches, to set up their seeding in the knockout rounds on Sunday, leading up to the final.

The last team standing among the men will earn a spot at the Olympics, and the second- and third-place squads will get a chance to qualify at next year’s World Rugby Olympic Repechage tournament, taking place in June.

CNS Local Life
Sevens captain Robbie Cribb

While noting that the summer weather in Cayman may prove an advantage to the local players as they are used to the heat where other teams might struggle, Bowles stressed the style of play he expects from his group. “We need to be very careful in our structure. We need to ensure that when we have ball in hand and we are attacking, we attack with purpose, and when we are defending, we are defending with focused intensity, especially with regards to communication.”

The Cayman starting 12 are Robbie Cribb (captain), Justin Wight, Matthew Westin, Avery Ebanks, Iain Currie, Cueme Parker, Joel Clark, Cameron Bridgeman, Alex Harvey, Eddie Westin, Darien Montague and Keswick Wright, with standby players Shane Westin and Mark Westin.

“I think Cayman has a great opportunity to succeed over this weekend,” Bowles said. “Everyone’s contribution is going to be vital, the ball needs to bounce our way and we need to make that happen.”

The full men’s teams lineup for this weekend comprises Canada, Jamaica, Guyana, Bermuda, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados. The women’s teams are Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, St Lucia, Bahamas and Bermuda, with the top two finishers earning a final opportunity to compete for a spot in the 2020 Summer Olympics at June’s repechage tournament. The US and Canadian women’s teams have already booked their Olympics spots from North America.

The women will open the tournament with Mexico and St Lucia in a 10am start on Saturday, with the men first facing off at 11:06am in a match between Canada and Barbados.

Tickets are available online on the Cayman Rugby Football Union website

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Category: Rugby, Sports

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