Mexico’s road to the 2015 Rugby World Cup may have started there in front of International Rugby Board Chairman Bernard Lapasset, Rugby World Cup winner and 2015 World Cup Ambassador Lawrence Dallaglio and the William Web Ellis Trophy but that journey ended in George Town last week at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.
Cayman Big Game 1, an event featuring junior rugby exhibition matches, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service marching band, live acts such as Jeffrey Wilson, DJ XS and a host of other local talent came to a climax at 4pm when Cayman kicked off to Mexico in front of a crowd of 1,000 with more watching internationally online thanks to www.caymanrugbytv.com.
Whilst Cayman had recorded wins over Mexico when the sport was in its infancy there, with a population of over 100 million, Mexico has seen its rugby fortunes grow exponentially since the early days and beat Cayman in 2007 and last year.
That led with Mexico’s huge 68-14 win over Jamaica followed by Cayman’s 19-18 shock loss to Jamaica made Mexico heavy favourites to defeat Cayman on home soil.
Mexico started brightly and drew first blood with a penalty to take the score to 3-0 but Cayman responded superbly once Chris Bunce crossed the line to score the opening try. Cayman mounted a further 21 points before the Mexicans scored again.
With Cayman dominating the line outs and the Caymanian back line piercing holes in the Mexican defence, the points kept mounting before Mexico crossed the line once more and slotted one further penalty to bring up 13 points. Cayman on the other hand tallied a total of seven tries, four conversions and one penalty to make the final score a whopping 46-13.
The win not only ensures that the Islands remain alive in the Americas qualification process but also results in a six place climb to 68th in the International Rugby Board world rankings.
Cayman now look forward to encounters with Bermuda away on 19 May and Bahamas at home on 26 May in the next phase of the NACRA Championship 2012; the defeat has ended Mexico’s involvement in the qualification process and also seen them slide six places to 76th.
Cayman points came from Chris Bunce, Ben Blair, Vanasio Tokatokavanua (2), Josh Clark, Joel Clark and Simon Crompton. Morgan Hayward hit four conversions and a penalty.