The RHSW Cayman National XV recorded their biggest victory ever over Bermuda when beating the old foe by 47-11 at Truman Bodden over the weekend.
The occasion was a World Cup Qualifier, Rugby North America’s fixture and also The Security Centre Big Game 7.
The Cayman team achieved several milestones with this triumph, according to a press release. Most importantly, the team is still on course to qualify for the World Cup after winning both of their opening matches.
The RHSW Cayman team also climbed three places in the world rankings above Sweden, Luxembourg and Singapore, organizers said.
The team has extended their unbeaten run to nine games this season. Since the CRFU was formed in 1976, this is the longest unbeaten run, beating the seven-game run in 2002.
Phil Pretorius, head coach, thanked the crowd for the great attendance and the “special vibe” created during the game.
Pretorius said the team is “honored to represent their country, and the tremendous support they received throughout the season is spurring them higher.”
Pretorius also praised the team for their dedication throughout the season. They started training on Jan. 4 and for 25 weeks had to juggle a tough training regime with work and family commitments.
In the weekend game, Cayman scored seven tries, bringing their total tries to 71 in nine games.
Michael Wilson and Danno O’Connor made an outstanding center combination, with Wilson scoring two tries and O’Connor, described as the best line breaker in the squad, making some telling runs, one of which led to Wilson’s second try.
Wilson was also nominated as man of the match.
Justin Wight has scored in every match, and he extended his try scoring record to eight for the season. The Youth Development manager of the CRFU showed his young fans at the game how to beat defenders and score tries.
Venasio Tokatokavanua, the other winger, scored two tries, and has a total of seven tries this season. The halfback pairing of Morgan Shelver and Neil Montgomery created many opportunities for the outside backs. Edward Westin, in his first start as fullback, scored a try from 35m out. In the second half, Joel Clark played a part in ripping the defense open.
Up front, however, the Cayman forwards had a tough time against their counterparts. In the scrum, the Cayman team struggled for the first time this season, losing three of their nine scrums. In the line-outs, the team struggled initially, but later in the game Yohann Regnard dominated possession. The Cayman line-out also did very well on the Bermuda line-out and overturned six of their 12 line-out throws.
Ben McDonald and Peter de Vere came on as replacements and, just as in the game against USA South, brought new intensity to the game.
For the Bermuda team, their number 8 and former South African Schools star Roedolf van der Westhuizen did well. The visiting tighthead, Dustin Archibald, was very strong in the scrums.
The Bermuda captain and lock Peter Dunkerley was a physical presence throughout the game.
This international game was also a special occasion for the Westin family of Cayman. As far as can be established, organizers said, they made history by becoming the first four brothers — Edward, Shane, Joey and Paul — to play together in an official World Cup Qualifier. Another brother, Mark, has also played for the national team this season, while young brother Matthew is a budding star in the U-14 team. Sister Elizabeth plays for the women’s sevens team.
For the Cayman team, Wight, Tokatokavanua (2), Wilson (2), Ben Blair and Edward Westin scored tries. Shelver converted four tries and Shaun McDermott converted two.
For Bermuda, Guerhardt Lamprecht scored a try and Tommy Edwards kicked two penalties. The Cayman team against the Bermuda was:
15. Edward Westin, 14. Justin Wight, 13. Michael Wilson, 12. Danno O’Connor, 11. Venasio Tokatokavanua, 10. Morgan Shelver, 9. Neil Montgomery, 8. Chris Kennedy, 7. Paul Westin, 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, Joey Westin, 19. Shane Westin, 20 Iain Currie, 22. Shaun McDermott, 23. Joel Clark.
Next up for the Cayman team is Mexico, in Mexico City, on July 2 in the final of the northern zone of Rugby Americas North.