Awards all go to locals

Cayman’s rugby community wrapped up its season with its annual players’ dinner at the Marriott Hotel.

The night was an opportunity for local clubs and national squads to cap off a successful season in the style of a black tie event.

The dinner saw New Zealand rugby legend Doug Howlett taking to the stage as guest speaker to acknowledge players on their performances for club and country on July 4.

Howlett is the seventh-leading try-scorer in rugby union history, with 49 tries in 62 tests.

He is the all-time highest try scorer for the All Blacks.

An extremely encouraging sign for the future of rugby in Cayman and its aspirations to continue to grow and succeed was that all six players awards were received by young Caymanians.

In the past decade, Richard “Grizz” Adams and Derek Haines, who have directed the rugby program locally for years, have gradually introduced rugby – which was exclusively an ex-pat sport – into schools and nurtured young talent that is maturing impressively now as they reach senior level. Voted by peers, players and coaches, the awards went to the following players: Robbie Cribb Jr. (men’s player of the year), Mark Soto (men’s most improved player), Shenel Gall (women’s player of the year), Jenna Richards (women’s most improved player of the year), Jodie McTaggart (women’s players’ player of the year) and Angel Hawkins (junior player of the year).

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