National Sevens speed up prep

Rugby Sevens in Cayman are beginning preparations for a major tournament. 

The Cayman Islands National Rugby Sevens team have begun their preparations in earnest at the South Sound Ground this weekend. The target is the North American and Caribbean Rugby Championships, which will be held in Grand Cayman from 9-10 November at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.  

The November championship offers a qualification process for the CACSO Commonwealth and World Sevens Series tournaments in 2014 and is, therefore, high on the list of “must wins” for Cayman Director of Rugby, Richard Adams.  

“A win at the championships in November is a must, to set us up for major tournament play in 2014, which we desperately need to continue the improvement we have made in recent years,” Adams said.  

“I am delighted that nine new graduates from the Maples Rugby Sevens Academy will join former graduates in the national side this year, for a total of 26 here on island, with a further 12 overseas taking us to a squad of 38. From this squad, we have to get down to 12, so competition is going to be very high indeed this year.” 

The camp this weekend is sponsored in part by the Commonwealth Games Federation, the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee, Maples and Calder and Queensgate Bank and Trust.  

Morgan Williams, a former professional player, National Sevens coach and captain of the Canada team, has been working with the Cayman team for the past two seasons and will lead the camp. He brings a professional approach and world class coaching skills to the camp. 

Williams is joined by Wales’ assistant fitness and conditioning coach, Dan Baugh, who will be working closely with the Cayman Rugby Football Union’s new strength and conditioning coach, David Clancy, who hails from Ireland and has extensive knowledge of Rugby Sevens in Samoa and rugby in Ireland.  

Clancy, in Cayman on a federation grant, and Baugh will be setting up a five-month schedule for the players to ensure that they are in peak condition for the November championships.  

The Olympic Committee recently accepted a request from the union for Rugby Sevens to receive the Olympic Solidarity Team Support Grant for the quadrennial leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and this weekend is the first step in that direction. 

Adams added, “This is a very important and exciting time in Rugby Sevens for the Cayman Islands. We are rolling out a professional high performance environment for the players and management.  

“We have a chief medical officer, Dr Sean Teeling, a head physiotherapist, Al Bartice, a head S&C coach Dave Clancy and two of the world’s leading consultants in their field on board. I am so grateful to Maples, the Olympic Committee, the Commonwealth federation and Queensgate for their continued support. 

“To get to the next level requires a significant investment and I am now looking for new Sevens partners to get on board with this programme. The World Sevens Series, Commonwealth Games, Youth Commonwealth Games, Youth Olympic Games, CACSO Games and Pan Am Games are within reach at the moment.  

“I am confident that with the management team that we have assembled and our player group, we are on the right track to take Rugby Sevens to a new level in the Cayman Islands and the region. One never knows, with Canada and the US making such big strides towards Olympic pre-qualification, there just may be room for us to squeeze through the door in 2016.” 

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Rugby Sevens will take centre stage in the coming months. – PHOTOS: RON SHILLINGFORD

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Serious training under way in South Sound.
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