International debuts at nine

The best rugby players under 11 got a chance to play their first international yesterday.

As part of rugby’s development here and in Bermuda, a Bermuda team came down to face the might of Cayman at Under-11. The teams lined up and heard their respective national anthems played, so it was not a mock affair.

It was sponsored by Maples and Calder, a big supporter of rugby on the island.

Alasdair Robertson was one of the coaches to the Under-10s.

He said on Saturday: ‘It’s a great initiative by Bermuda and Cayman to get internationals and Under-12 level to enable us to compete at a proper international level at a younger age.

‘The best benefit is that it will only serve to increase rugby on the island. You’ll get more and more people playing and that will raise the standards.

‘How many other sports can you say you played international at age nine? That’s pretty tremendous. The kids are really pumped for this.

‘It’s really about having a lot of fun and letting the kids inter-mix with Bermuda and the hope is that within a couple of years we’ll have Jamaica and Bahamas playing as well, which at this level will be fantastic.’

On Saturday there was a mix of Cayman players in three sides facing each other, the yellows, greens and blues.

It was very much mixed ability with children as young as six playing.

On Sunday the best from the previous day were selected for a full international. The Cayman side was: Jack Sorrill, Daniel Rawlins, Ryan Barnett, Alister Forsyth, Lee Lewis, Simon Butler, Alexander Robertson, Brandon Buckley, Austin Malyk, Sam Stainrod, Iain Robertso, Riley Walton and Cameron Galloway.

Derek Haines, Cayman’s Rugby Union president, said: ‘The Bermuda Rugby Union and Cayman are in talks to develop an annual Youth International Challenge Cup whereby the Cayman youth teams will travel to Bermuda every second year and Bermuda will travel to Cayman in the intervening years offering both unions youth’s the chance to play international competition every year and sample the cultures and sights of a different country.

‘We’re hoping to have an annual international youth competition for boys and girls from the ages of under 8 to under 16.’

Both unions are currently seeking sponsorship to enable this trophy to become an established fixture in their calendars.

Youth rugby for both genders is developing at a fast rate on the island. The second Maples Community tournament in February was another roaring success with children of all age groups enjoying the day and the competition. Again at the Under-14 and Under-16 group some 40 boys competed in the cross island tournament.