Trinidad and Tobago are undisputed kings of Caribbean rugby.
They won the Caribbean Rugby Championship at the rugby club on South Sound on Saturday to book their place in the next round of qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand.
The Trinis beat Guyana 40-24 in the final in George Town, Grand Cayman to take local bragging rights for another year and, more importantly, progress to play the winner of South America’s Consur B tournament in home and away fixtures later this year.
A second half hat trick of tries by No.8 and captain Adam Fredericks inspired T&T to the well deserved win over their neighbours in an exhilarating final. They had previously beaten Cayman 39-12 and Barbados a whopping 56-0.
Underdogs Guyana were first to register a score, centre Kevin McKenzie charging down Brenden O’Farrell’s kick to run in unopposed for an early 5-0 advantage.
But T&T quickly levelled through Kelson Figuero and Jason Clarke soon added a second, O’Farrell converting both for a 14-5 lead.
Charismatic centre Theodore Henry dummied his way through the T&T defence to hit back for Guyana but Felicion Guerra’s try put T&T in control, 21-12 at half time.
Two quick tries after the break from Fredericks increased the lead to 35-12 and, although Guyana clawed their way back through Ronald Mayers after good work from Claudius Butts, Fredericks added his third after 66 minutes to make it 40-19.
Theodore Henry crossed for his second shortly afterwards but it was too little too late for gallant Guyana. The referee was Tony Spreadbury.
In the Plate final, Bermuda beat Barbados 17-6.
Tries by Eoghan O’Dywer, Greg Garside and Jack Elison secured a Plate victory for Bermuda in a tight and eagerly contested match against Barbados.
Young fly half Ben Petit, who only last year represented his country in the regional Under 19 tournament here, put Barbados 6-0 ahead with two well struck penalties but Bermuda wing O’Dwyer scored on the stroke of half time to edge them back into the match at 6-5.
Garside struck midway through the second half to put Bermuda ahead and Micheal Kane added the two points for a 12-6 lead before Ellison put the match out of reach for Barbados with a try in the dying seconds and ensure that Bermuda finish the championship in third place.
Bahamas edged Mexico 23-17 in the Bowl final, a closely contested match, as all Mexico games seem to be. Mexico led for much of the match but the Bahamas stuck to their task and ground out a brave win.
After sustained Mexican forward pressure Mexico No.8 Luis Bullrich powered over for the opening try.
His opposite number Devon Woodside evened out the scores with a try mid way through the half as the two sides’ contrasting styles became evident – the Mexicans using their strong and well-organised forwards while the Bahamas looked dangerous playing a more expansive game.
Mexico regained the lead with a Bruno Abril try, which was converted by fly half Pablo Septien to take a 12-5 lead at half time but shortly after the break Bahamas were back within three points through a Brian Baker penalty and they then took a 15-12 lead thanks to Giovani Rolle’s try, also converted by Baker.
Mexico rallied and regained the lead through Bullrich’s second try of the match but it changed hands one last time when Bahamian winger Andrew Kemp touched down and another penalty by Baker stretched the lead out to the final scoreline of 23-17 to Bahamas.
In the Shield final the Cayman Islands gave the home crowd reason for early cheer in the first match of the final day’s play at the rugby club in South Sound, beating Jamaica 11-10.
Stuart McMillan opened the scoring for Cayman with a penalty after six minutes and Jamaica quickly replied through full back Malachi Davis’ well taken drop goal.
Both McMillan and Davis then missed a number of penalty chances and Jamaica kicked away much possession in an error-strewn half.
Mick Kehoe’s penalty gave Cayman the lead early in the second half before Desmond Samuels rounded the Cayman full back to score the first try close to the posts.
Handesyke Ellington secured the conversion to give Jamaica a 10-6 lead but with only minutes to go Shaun Gerard scored for Cayman to the delight of the large home crowd, Cayman winning the Shield and a first victory of the tournament.