The Cayman Rugby Union has been trying to develop a women’s rugby program on the island for the past six years so the first inter-house John Gray girls tournament last Friday was seen as major milestone.
Cayman is invited to compete in several women’s competitions each year as part of the West Indies Rugby Union, the North American West Indies Rugby Association and the International Rugby Board and so far has seldom been able to attend due to a lack of players.
Approximately 80 girls participated in the touch tournament and as many as 40 signed up for a series of camps to be run by the CRFU to experience the full contact version of the sport. Add to these girls the other girls from private schools, and it seems that the Cayman RU will finally be able to develop a strong local squad to compete in regional and world women’s tournaments.
The Union has been coaching girls in the Primary system for many years now as part of a mixed program and often the girls outshine the boys at that age. It has been a struggle, however, to get rugby for girls, into John Gray and George Hicks, so the development pathway to the women’s program has remained fractured.
With the girls at John Gray trying and enjoying the sport for the first time, only George Hicks remains to adopt the program for girls and then the developmental program within the schools will be complete, allowing the girls to join the boys in all aspects of development and competition within the school and community.
Cayman Islands Technical Director Richard Adams, is delighted with the work of his rugby development officers.
‘This all comes down to the support of private business such as HSBC, Maples and Calder and Cable and Wireless as well as Government who support our in school coaching program and development programs,’ he said. ‘Our Development officers have done a wonderful job this year delivering rugby to over 3,000 children in the schools with well over one thousand of these being girls. To see the girls playing is truly a dream come true as I see hugely untapped rugby potential for the Cayman Islands in these athletes.
‘We hope to recruit about 20 of these girls for induction into our Maples & Calder Rugby Sevens Academy for the 2006/2007 season as we have existing competition on an annual basis within the region and the 2009 world cup looming which will include women’s sevens for the first time. Very exciting prospects indeed!’