Challenge Cup will test World Cup aces

The Cayman Challenge Cup starts on Saturday when the best players of the Northern Hemisphere resident on the Island will play the Cayman U20 Academy.

Josh Clark

Josh Clark is also in the West Indies squad Photo: Ron Shillingford

It kicks off at 4pm at the South Sound Rugby Club.

The Academy will be without the services of Michael Wilson who is playing for the West Indies Sevens team alongside former Academy player and captain Josh Clark in Trinidad this weekend.

Bryan Martins, Cueme Parker and Robbie Cribb are also all away at school and Mathew Hale remains injured.

The Academy still have a solid squad of players however as they prepare for the Junior World Trophy in Kenya in April 2009, as well as the U19 Caribbean Championships and 2010 U20 Junior World Trophy in July 2009.

Challenge Cup matches this month will be a great way to test the U20 squad’s development in recent months and just how much work remains to be done prior to the April and July tournaments.

With the teams now confirmed for the Junior World Trophy in Kenya in April as Chili, Korea, Romania, USA, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Namibia and the Cayman Islands there is no doubt that the Cayman U20 Academy have a daunting task.

Technical director Richard ‘Grizz’ Adams will be watching closely as his charges take the field on Saturday.

‘To be honest these games are not really about the final result, while we all want to win, at this juncture I need to get a real idea of where we are and what needs doing before April,’ he said.

‘Our scrummage will be under tremendous strain on Saturday and our line out will also be tested both in attack and defence. We will need to show that we can tackle low first time and with power.

‘We will also need to show that we can create and finish opportunities and not simply defend against bigger teams.

‘The reality is that we are a minnow in world terms but we have had the audacity to qualify to play with the big boys, so now we have to follow that through and do just that.

‘We need to demonstrate that we can maintain continuity and possession of the ball.

‘Of course if we can do all of these things then the end result will look after itself but I think it would be foolhardy of me to suggest that our U20 squad and players are currently the match for the select North team that will feature a number of players who are of excellent class.

‘This series of matches was designed to test the best players resident on the island and the level of play is always very high.’

All of the 120 senior male players are divided into three teams, the current Cayman U20 National Squad, the best players who have hailed from the Southern Hemisphere countries such as South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and lastly from the Northern hemisphere countries of Europe, North America and the Caribbean.