The Maples National Academy 7s rugby team set of for their developmental tour of Calgary, Victoria and Vancouver in preparation for the World Cup 7s qualifiers in Ottawa next month.
The tour started last Friday with one of three very challenging tournaments playing against the elite Canadian 7s teams.
Cayman were drawn first against last year’s winners of the tournament the Dog River Howlers, a team with a number of prospective Canadian national players.
Cayman started well and scored three tries in the first half through excellent team play by Joel Clark, Vanassio Tokotokovenua and debutant Johann Regnard .
The Howlers started the second half with some strong play and scored three good tries and were in the lead with only a minute to play. A break and chip ahead resulted in Joel Clark scoring the winning try to leave a shell shocked Howlers defeated 26-20.
The next match against the Cannibals, a team made up of resident Fijians. After an inconsistent first half, Cayman returned to their superb structure and form of the first game to beat the Cannibals 26-5 with tries from, Tokotokovenua, Dan Bond, Joel Clark and Michael Wilson.
After a successful two games on Friday Cayman returned for their next game on Saturday morning against the Regina Prairie Fire in the Elite men’s competition.
Cayman again produced an excellent display with the forwards, Dan Bond, Edward Westin, Johann Regnard and Josh Clark winning the majority of restarts to provide the ball for the team to score 34 unanswered points.
The tries were scored by Josh Clark, Johann Regnard and four by Joel Clark. The Maples Academy team were now in the semi-final of the elite division to play Edmonton Exiles.
Against a large and very physical team the score was tied at 12-12 at the final whistle with tries from Tokotokovenua and Joel Clark.
In extra time Josh Clark exerted excellent pressure at the kick off resulting in a Cayman scrum where Garrett Conolly scored a brilliant individual try to win the game and place Cayman in the final.
Cayman were against the home team of the Calgary Mavericks in the final who had a number of talented and physical southern hemisphere players.
After a slow start and going down to three quick tries Cayman scored just before half time through Tokotokovenua with the score at 17-7 to Calgary.
In the second half Calgary scored straight from the kick off and were now 22-7 ahead. Cayman then put in an excellent final five minutes scoring a great individual try from half way by Keswick Wright followed by a hard earned forward try through Johann Regnard. In the final seconds Joel Clark was bundled into touch short of the Calgary line resulting in a final score of 22-17 to Calgary.
Cayman played every team in the top elite division winning four games and only losing in the final by five points. It was an excellent squad performance and a great learning experience for the Maples 7s Academy at the start of the developmental tour.
Cayman now move on to Victoria where they will train with the Canadian 7s team and also benefit from the addition of Morgan Williams in the coaching team in preparation for two extremely challenging international tournaments in Victoria and Vancouver.