In spite of a very good victory over the Bahamas recently, the fate of Cayman’s national rugby team now rests in the hands of their most recent conquest.
The Cayman players and their fans will find themselves in the unfamiliar position of cheering for the Bahamas this weekend as they face Bermuda, with a Bahamian win opening the door for Cayman to proceed to the next round of the Caribbean championships.
Although the championships are always a highlight for the regional teams, it carries even more importance this year as it forms part of the qualification process for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
In their first game in the second round of the competition, Cayman suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of Bermuda, going down 7-3 late in the game after holding the lead from early on thanks to a successful penalty kick.
Although their impressive 27-7 win over the Bahamas kept their hopes alive, they are still reliant on the outcome of the last group game to determine whether they will progress or not.
According to Richard Adams, technical director for Cayman rugby, the team will at worst finish second in the group, which will already have a positive impact on their campaign next year.
“We now sit on top of the pool with six points while Bermuda are in second with four points and Bahamas bottom with zero points. This now means that we have been promoted to round two for next year and will not have to play in round one of the Caribbean Champs with Mexico and Jamaica,” he said.
The win over the Bahamas meant that Cayman moved up to 66th in the International Rugby Board’s world rankings, which means that it is now the fourth-highest ranked team in the Caribbean, behind Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda and Guyana.
According to Brad Cowdroy, coach of the national team, his men will definitely be cheering the Bahamas when they face Bermuda on 9 June.
“The path forward is out of our control. We now wait on the result of the Bermuda versus Bahamas game. If Bermuda win, we are out, but if the Bahamas win, each team in this round will have one win and one loss. It will then come down to how many bonus points have been collected along the way to determine who goes through to the next round of qualifying, the Caribbean final, to be played on 23 June. We have collected two bonus points whilst Bermuda and the Bahamas haven’t got any yet,” he said.
The Bahamas will be playing with home crowd support and with all the games played in the second round thus far having gone to the host nation, that is a good sign for Cayman.
The game against the Cayman Islands was also the Bahamas’ first game of the tournament, so the team should be able to iron out some of the errors that crept in later during the game and allowed Cayman to score four tries in the second half.
The winner of Cayman’s group will face Guyana in the Caribbean final as they ousted Trinidad and Tobago 20-0 last Saturday. However, according to Adams, should Cayman progress that will be an away game, as Guyana is ranked above Cayman in the world rankings.