Local sevens rugby will face formidable opposition at a major tournament.
The pools for the North American and Caribbean Rugby Association Regional Sevens Championships, to be played at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex on 9-10 November, have been announced.
Cayman, seeded ninth, will be in pool A against 15th ranked Turks and Caicos, eighth ranked Bahamas and top seed Canada. Pool B features No. 2 USA, seventh seed Barbados, No. 10 Bermuda and 14th ranked British Virgin Islands. Pool C has No. 3 Mexico, sixth ranked Trinidad, 11th seed St. Vincent and No. 13 Curacao. Pool D has No. 4 Jamaica, fifth seed Guyana and 12th ranked St. Lucia.
All 15 men’s team recently confirmed their attendance along with 10 women’s teams. The ladies competition will feature Cayman as hosts against Mexico, St. Lucia, Curacao and representative teams from Canada and the US. A format has not been decided as yet.
For Cayman, especially the men’s squad, the tournament is part of a qualification process for the Commonwealth Games and World Sevens Series tournaments next year.
The Cayman Rugby Football Union has worked hard to provide the players with the necessary resources through sponsorship. Among the confirmed sponsors for the November tournament are LIME, Fidelity and The Security Centre. The competition is expected to be a sellout in terms of attendance with the action being streamed through North America, the Caribbean and the world.
On the field, the CRFU has brought in former pro, national sevens coach and Canada captain Morgan Williams to work with the Cayman team. Wales strength and conditioning coach Dan Baugh and new CRFU strength coach David Clancy have also been brought in to help.
The final Cayman men’s team has yet to be announced though strong candidates for roster spaces include Jon Murphy, Chris Palmer and Keswick Wright, who are regularly training at the club ground in South Sound. A number of strong players are currently studying overseas in Michael Wilson, the Clark brothers, Joel and Josh, Justin Wight and Morgan and Will Hayward.
For the ladies, preparation is progressing as two teams full of US Eagles will arrive in Cayman in August for a set of warm-up matches. A women’s camp will also take place in early August.