The Cayman rugby scene is at an all-time high and with its Saturday morning junior development programme resuming, future national teams are going to be making an even bigger impression than the current sides.
The cost per year is only CI$50 per player which includes playing jersey, coaching and morning coffee for mum and dad.
The sessions run on Saturday mornings at various times depending on the players’s ages and also Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from this week.
All the lead coaches have attained an International Rugby Board or Cayman Rugby Football Union level 1 coaching accreditation.
There is at least one international competition for ages Under-10, U12, U14 and U16 each year. This season the Conyers Bermuda Cayman Challenge Cup will be played in Cayman on 1 and 2 May.
Currently plans are under way for the U15 and U17 to tour in the USA in November.
There will be other competition developed over the next few months for other age groups.
With Rugby Sevens on the brink of Olympic inclusion once more, the CRFU has recognized the greatly increased importance of preparation of its young players at an earlier age.
Rugby technical director Richard ‘Grizz’ Adams’ said: ‘In 2016 should rugby sevens be included in the Olympics then players in our current U19, U15 and U14 programmes will be those most likely to represent. In 2020 it becomes our current U13 through U9 players.
‘As part of this process I am happy to be able to tell you that the Cayman Islands U18 sevens squad will be travelling to compete in the 2011 Youth Commonwealth games in the Isle of Man.’
Adams is pleased that the is a full itinerary for the next few years.
‘The CRFU is actively developing players with tournaments, training camps and tours for a multitude of competitions in both sevens and 15.
‘They include next year’s Commonwealth Games, Youth Commonwealth games, Pan Am games, NACRA games, CACSO games, North Caribbean 4 matches, U19 NACRA championships, U20 JWRT matches, Rugby World Cup sevens and Rugby World Cup Fifteens.
‘As a Union we are entitled to compete in all of these tournaments at either a qualifying event or at the tournament itself.
‘All players are invited to attend the national academies to teach basic core skills. The CRFU policy is to reward those that work hard to develop and train. Those that do not may be asked to leave.’
There are certainly plenty of opportunities for ambitious youngsters. Of the 26 players who travelled with the Cayman U20 team to the Junior World Trophy in Kenya in 2009 24 have gone on to university this year, most to a strong rugby playing school.
‘Opportunities abound for strong players with academic ability,’ said Adams. ‘We expect that Cayman will have its first full time elite professional players overseas within the next 12 months.
‘Three of our players are now representing the West Indies sevens programme on the world stage – Michael Wilson and the Clarke brothers, Joel and Josh.
‘All of these players emerged through our youth programmes. We believe in offering individuals a firm code of morals, ethics, community leadership, academic development and a safe and drug free environment in which to develop and learn life and sport skills.’
Although Grizz and the coaches expect regular attendance, they are flexible in allowing kids with multi-sporting interests to compete elsewhere if there is a clash. However, if a player is on the Elite Athlete Development list for say an Olympic programme then a commitment to rugby will be expected.