The Cayman national men’s rugby team traveled to Costa Rica for the Rainforest Sevens on Saturday and came away with a set of victories before taking on sterner opposition later this month.
Cayman faced teams from Mexico and Costa Rica in their pool. The Mexican team was a club select side that had a good spread of current and past Mexican international sevens players and entered the tournament as the heavy favorites, along with the full Costa Rica national side that competed in last year’s Central American and Caribbean Games.
Cayman also faced a Costa Rica select made up of top club players throughout the country.
Cayman started their campaign against Mexico and surprised everyone but themselves with a 26-5 win, scoring four tries to one.
Next up came the Costa Rica national side, and again Cayman caused an upset, winning 33-5 and marking the improvement in the Cayman team since the two met last November at the Central American and Caribbean Games when Cayman triumphed 10-7 in a very tight and competitive game.
This left Costa Rica select in the last pool match and Cayman found form scoring 10 unanswered tries to win 64-0 and advance to the final match.
Costa Rica national bounced back to beat Mexico in the playoff match and earn their place in the final game.
Cayman dominated again, scoring 10 more tries in the final to beat Costa Rica 64-5 and further demonstrate just how much work the team has done since the CAC Games.
Coach Richard “Grizz” Adams was pleased with their performances.
“I was a bit worried about the fitness of some of the players during the first match and commented on this to strength and conditioning coach Dave Clancy,” he said. “However, as the day went on, the fitness proved to be no issue at all, and I was reminded that we were playing at 1,100 meters [3,600 feet] altitude as well, so a little bit of fatigue early on was acceptable as the lads acclimatized.”
Adams added that it was the best Cayman has played in a long time, with only two unforced errors in over 60 minutes over four matches “and that is pretty rare in any team at any tournament.”
The Olympic qualifiers in North Carolina in two weeks are against the USA and Canada. Only one team from North America and the Caribbean will qualify through to the Olympics from the event, but they are aiming to be in the last four of the tournament and a chance to play in Hong Kong at the World Sevens Series in 2016.