Women’s rugby sevens gets boost through boot camp

The women’s rugby program has always been a good one in the Cayman Islands and it looks set to soon get stronger.  

Twenty-two women showed up to the first Cayman Rugby Football Union boot camp in South Sound on Sunday to either try the sport for the first time or to hone existing skills.  

The boot camp was put together by Dave Clancy and Paul Parker and was coached by Clancy, Richard “Grizz” Adams, women’s national coach James Buckley and national referee assessor David Robinson. 

National men’s team players were also involved. They included Andrew Ibeh, Kramer Bell, Alex Pineau and Garrett Conolly.  

Women’s national manager Mark Woollard ensured everything went to plan. The girls underwent two hours of intensive training moving from coach to coach in five-minute training blocks that covered all aspects of the sevens game so that all the players could get a complete look at the game broken down.  

The boot camp was very popular and Paul Parker was delighted with the results. The Cayman Rugby Union is working really hard to get women’s sevens out into local schools in 2014 and trying to recruit more Caymanian girls into the program. 

There are numerous world class opportunities for a fit, well-drilled Cayman women’s sevens team in the future. 

“Women’s rugby sevens now forms part of the Olympic Games in 2016 and 2020 for sure and is expected to become a regular fixture at the Games for the foreseeable future,” Adams said.  

True to Olympic values, the women’s game gets the same attention that the men’s games do and this means inclusion into other games such as CACSO, Pan Am, Commonwealth, Youth Commonwealth and Youth Olympic games, as well as regional representatives being included into the Women’s World Sevens Series with six legs all over the world over the next few years.  

“When you take into consideration that within our region, the North America and Caribbean Rugby Association, we have USA and Canada who just won bronze and silver medals at the women’s rugby sevens world cup respectively.”  

Adams understands that their women’s programs are now receiving even more funding and should continue to improve between now and 2016, and expects Canada and the U.S. to be in the top four in the world in 2015 and qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.  

“That means that the next best team in our region will also qualify,” he said. 

Women’s rugby is low-key throughout the Caribbean with only Jamaica, Trinidad, Mexico and Guyana having any real talent, but little if any domestic competition.  

“We have some great young Caymanian female athletes,” Adams said. “I see them on the track, playing football, netball and a host of other sports.  

Many of these great athletes will never get a chance to play at some of these very prestigious tournaments, so the message we are sending out is give rugby sevens a go.  

“If we can get the right girls, we have a pretty good route to getting and competing at all of the games and the World Sevens Series, but we need to start the development now and stay ahead of the race to get there.” 

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The women’s boot camp had an encouraging turn out. – PHOTO: CAROLINE DEEGAN

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Andrew Ibeh helped at the boot camp. – PHOTO: RON SHILLINGFORD
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