Dartmouth University wrapped up their spring tour to the Cayman Islands last week by once again beating the Cayman National XV, this time 28-18.
The second straight loss to the younger Americans leaves questions hanging over Cayman’s preparations ahead of their 2015 World Cup qualification process which starts on Saturday against Jamaica in Kingston.
Dartmouth proved to be the better team in the final 20 minutes, making another late comeback to secure the win and a perfect record for the 1st XV on the trip.
Cayman marched into an early lead in the game thanks to an early showing from the Cayman forwards which utilized driving mauls off the lineout and powerful scrummaging but it was outside of the set piece that Cayman showed their weaknesses as Cayman could not capitalise on a 15-8 half time lead.
Following an early penalty to take the score to 18-8 in the second half the Dartmouth defence began to strike back, completely stifling the Cayman attack so that the local boys would not add any more points to their tally for the rest of the game.
Using their stingy defence as a catalyst, The Big Green began their comeback, with fly-half Will Lehmann getting the try after a great run from centre Clark Judge. Hughes made the conversion to tighten things up at 18-15.
Moments later, he added another penalty to make it a tie game. The game-winning score came five minutes later, with wing Kevin Clark going in for the deciding score. Hughes added another conversion and then made his third penalty to extend the lead to 28-18. The penalty brought his points total to 13 ensure the victory.
Although the Cayman national side could get no joy from the Dartmouth tour the Cayman Rugby Club was buoyed by three consecutive victories over the Dartmouth 2nd XV with the biggest win going to the stellar Cayman U21 side 41-0.
The second of the Cayman Club select games against the Dartmouth 2s was a closer affair for the Dartmouth boys who lost 34-27 with a Kyron Lyons interception try being the difference between the sides.
The 2015 World Cup Qualification process kicked off in Mexico on 24 March and Mexico hammered the usually dangerous Jamaican’s 68-14. The loss bodes well for Cayman’s chances in Jamaica but the Mexicans will be hard to handle on home turf on 21 April having been buoyed by the spectacle of a World Cup opening match featuring 2015 Rugby Ambassador and 2003 World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio and 2011 Rugby World Cup final referee Craig Joubert.
Dallaglio’s said: “Believe me, Mexico is a very patriotic nation. If you could bottle what they have over there and give it to a few other countries, they would be a lot better for it!”