The HSBC/AndroGroup Cayman National U18 squad has been quietly and busily preparing for the past few months for a very busy summer of Rugby tournaments and development opportunities.
The Cayman Storm managed to notch up two wins in this years Waterford Alex Alexander Cup Campaign and several of these same players will form part of the U18 Squad that travels to Guyana on July 6th to compete in the U18 World Cup qualifiers. Other members of the squad have been playing for the Cable & Wireless National Sevens team for the past ten months and yet more member of the squad have been playing for the Maples and Calder National Rugby Sevens Academy, who have won their first two sevens tournaments of the year.
National Team coaches Steve Clark, Jon Rew, Venassio Tokatokavanua, John Wagner and Technical Director Grizz Adams have all been very pleased with the way in which the players have matured over the last year since their unbeaten tour of Toronto Canada. The players have workled hard and are showing a marked improvement at sessions.
On Wednesday 21st June the U18 squad quietly played a game against a select senior team at the South Sound pitch and showed just how much they had improved by narrowly loosing 10 – 7 to a team which included several senior national team members. The match followed a two day training camp and the same format will continue for the next two weeks prior to the teams departure to Guyana with warm up matches on Wednesday June 28th and Wednesday July 5th against steadily tougher opponents.
Guyana will prove to be a difficult venue as they are in the middle of the monsoon season and the pitch is extremely wet. The Cayman U18 teams first game will be against Jamaica on July 8th before taking on the USA on July 10th and finally St Lucia on July 12th.
That will end the round robin phase of the tournament. Depending on Cayman’s win loss record they will play one further game in the playoff round on July 15th. Expectation is very high however as this young team continues its development toward the World Cup Qualifiers which are to be hosted in the Cayman Islands during July 2007. Of the 25 player squad all but five players are still under the age of seventeen giving them at least two more years of competing at this level while only one player will miss next years tournament due to age restrictions.
Following on from the Guyana tournament four of these young players will join two older prior Academy players in the Maples and Calder National Sevens Academy Fiji Development project. The six will fly out to Nadi in Fiji on July 18th just one day after the return of the U18 team from Guyana, where they will train with National Club Sevens Champions Red Rock for six weeks. (Maples news release attached.)
The six are:
Jonathan Doak 26
Joshua Clark 17
Justin Vasquez 16
Michael Mandersen 16
Kramer Bell 17
Stuart McMillan 18