Big Game boosts ruggers

One of the region’s biggest rugby tournaments will enhance local efforts for another year.

The Cayman Rugby Football Union confirmed that the national 15s team will be taking part in the 2015 North America Caribbean Rugby Association Championships. The Cayman Islands will host the third round of the competition at Truman Bodden Sports Complex, with local players tackling Mexico on April 11. It will be the fifth time Cayman has staged a round of the tournament, with matches being billed as the “Big Game.”

Rugby Union Chief Executive Officer Richard Adams said the contests improve funding for the sport.

“For the fundraising side of things here, they’re very big,” Adams said. “But more importantly for the exposure of the game here. It’s huge. We get a lot of people down who wouldn’t necessarily go to a rugby game or know what rugby is. They come down for the event. They come down for the after party and the band and see the kids play before. We get a lot of parents coming down. We get a lot of businesses interested that maybe otherwise wouldn’t be interested in rugby before. So exposure-wise, it’s huge.”

Joel Clark and Cayman were eliminated from the 2014 championships back in June by the USA South Panthers. The Americans, newcomers to the competition, would go on to face Guyana in the final. It marked the first defeat on home soil for the local squad, which won its three previous international matches against Mexico, the Bahamas and Bermuda.

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