Clarke’s big chance

A local youngster is getting the chance of a lifetime.

Joshua Clarke is set to play for the West Indies rugby sevens team headed to Hong Kong next week.

The team plays in the International Rugby Board Sevens World Series 27-29 March.

Clarke, 20, alongside fellow Cayman player Michael Wilson were originally listed as non-travelling reserves with the team.

However due to British-based Jamaican player Nicholas Fraser becoming unavailable Clarke got a starting spot on the side.

Clarke is currently in Canada training with the WI team. The team is set to host a number of training sessions and have exhibition matches with their Canadian counterparts (who are also playing in the tournament).

From there the team heads out of Canada and embarks on an epic journey. The squad reportedly sets out from Vancouver to San Francisco and then on to Hong Kong.

As expected, Clarke is overjoyed with his chance to play with the WI.

‘I am really enjoying playing with this team and also playing with a lot of people who also want to do well and play at the best of their potential.

‘Everyone is really close and there isn’t any conflict or hate in the team and again everyone just wants to win so it’s a good vibe within the team.’

Clarke has been in tireless training for the last couple of months. Then again Clarke has been a consistent face on Cayman’s national teams for the past four to five years.

As Clarke (who has been going to school in England for the past few years) states his health is fine and he should be at 100 per cent on the pitch.

‘I am quite well prepared. My fitness is at a really good level now and fitness is the main part of playing sevens. I have been training almost everyday back at university in England.

‘I have my own fitness coach, Simon Weaver, who has been writing me programmes and been training me so that I can compete at this high level.

‘I just had a run out with the team and I am well up to par with the rest of the guys. So I feel quite confident.’

When he plays in Cayman Clarke is normally a forward for the Queensgate Pigs Trotters.

As Technical Director for Cayman rugby Richard ‘Grizz’ Adams states, Clarke will probably assume a similar role.

‘Josh is a good defender, solid at tackling, maintains a high work-rate around the park and is good at picking his moments to get involved in plays.

‘I’m pretty sure the coaches are looking at the fact that he can get to the ball, make plays and in general make a difference.

‘He’ll probably be used as a prop. He’s quick, good at winning the ball and not afraid of doing the dirty work so he should be fine.’

Clarke’s addition to the squad is a first in many ways yet he has reasonable expectations.

‘To be honest I don’t know what to expect. I never thought at my age I would be playing with the WI and in Hong Kong with the best of the best.

‘I just can’t wait to get onto the field, put my all into it and show people that even the small islands in the Caribbean can play at that level.

‘Right now the team is all talking about winning some games so we just can’t wait to do that.’

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