Cayman rugby records best win of season

Cayman defends their try line on the way to a decisive victory over the highly rated USA South Panthers team.

The RHSW Cayman National XV’s rugby team scaled new heights on Saturday by beating a powerful USA South Panthers team in Florida 28-21.

This was the unbeaten Cayman team’s eighth consecutive win this season.
Until Saturday, USA South was also unbeaten, and their team includes some of the best players in the 12 Southern states of the U.S.

The Cayman side scored 4 tries on their way to the win.

Head coach Phil Pretorius said the first half in particular featured an outstanding performance of exciting running rugby and solid defense.

Garry Southway, the forwards coach, mentioned the powerful scrum work and complimented the two young props, Johnny Gibson and Jordan Southway, who dominated throughout. When Ben McDonald and Peter de Vere replaced them late in the game, they pushed the Panthers off the ball, which led to the winning try.

Danno O’Connor makes ground.
Danno O’Connor makes ground.

In the backline, Ed Westin did well in his first game as a fullback. He replaced Dave Acutt after only five minutes of play.

Justin Wight again showed that he is one of the best wingers on this side of the world when he scored his seventh try of the season. Venasio Tokatokavanua on the other wing showed all his experience on defense and attack.

Mikey Wilson and Danno O’Connor have not been beaten as a combination yet this season, and on Saturday they broke the line on several occasions. Their defense was also outstanding, coaches said.

Morgan Shelver’s kicking out of hand in the first half was tactically superior, and his flat playing running style got the team on the front foot.

Iain Currie was a late replacement as scrumhalf, and he did an outstanding job of clearing the ball. He also sniped well on several occasions.

Chris Kennedy, captain and No. 8, had his best game of the season, and the match-clinching last try was just reward. Al Lum’s work rate throughout the game was outstanding.

In the line-outs, Ben Blair and Yohann Regnard reigned supreme. Regnard and Severiano Tabuaniwere were a hardworking and physically dominating lock pairing.

Andre Ormond, the hooker, fully deserved his man of the match reward. The USA South officials and players raved about his powerful play in the loose. He overturned five of the Panthers’ possessions and was a constant threat with the ball in hand.

Next up for the RHSW Cayman team is old foe Bermuda in The Security Centre Big Game 7 on June 18 at 7 p.m.

According to team manager Paul Parker, the team wants to end their home games this season undefeated with this game.

Caroline Deegan, administrative manager of the Cayman Islands Rugby Union, said the tickets are selling fast and that a repeat crowd of the 2,000 spectators against Bahamas two weeks ago is expected.

Try scorers and team

The try scorers for the Cayman side were Wight, O’Connor, Ormond and Kennedy. Shelver succeeded with 2 penalties and 1 conversion.

The Cayman team against the Panthers was:

15. Dave Acutt, 14. Justin Wight, 13. Mickey Wilson, 12. Danno O’Connor, 11. Venasio Tokatokavanu, 10. Morgan Shelver, 9. Iain Currie, 8. Chris Kennedy, 7. Ben Blair, 6. Al Lum, 5. Yohann Regnard, 4. Severiano Tabuaniwere, 3. Johnny Gibson, 2. Andre Ormond, 1. Jordan Southway. Replacements: 16. Ben McDonald, 17. Peter de Vere, 18, Mat Dors, 19. James Macfee, 20. Philip Pretorius, 21. Ed Westin.