Cayman’s rugby players got a small taste of glory on home turf, winning the plate competition in this weekend’s international rugby sevens tournament.
The Canadians dominated the RF Group Rugby Americas North Sevens tournament, running in nearly 300 points in six games as they obliterated the competition to claim the title and a spot in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo
Their closest challengers were Jamaica, whom they beat 40-5 in the final on Sunday afternoon. Mexico, who lost to Jamaica in the semi-final, were convincing winners over Bermuda in the third and fourth place match-up. That means they will progress along with Jamaica to a worldwide qualifier for the Olympic tournament.
The Cayman Islands rebounded from a bad start to claim fifth spot and take the plate title – a competition for the teams eliminated in the quarter-finals. They were beaten 47-0 by Jamaica in the opening game but came back to beat Guyana and lose narrowly to Trinidad and Tobago.
Cayman lost a tight quarter-final to Mexico but went on to beat Barbados and then record a 21-10 win over Guyana in the plate final.
Coach Jovan Bowles said it was nice to get a trophy in front of a home crowd, and to emerge with a 3-3 record for the tournament.
“There [are] still some questions to be answered going forward, and some frustration with what we think we could have achieved,” Bowles said, “but I am definitely happy with the team effort in terms of the commitment from the 12 players in the squad.”
He said the tournament had been a great experience and showed what Cayman was capable of on and off the field.
Though Cayman did not face the Canadians during the tournament, Bowles said their performances were a lesson for all in the region about how far they had to go,
“At the moment, Jamaica are the top Caribbean team,” he said. “They are representing the Caribbean. A scoreline like that in the final just shows how far we have to go as a region.”
Next up for Cayman’s rugby squad is a return to the 15-man format for a tournament in Colombia. They will face Colombia, Paraguay and Mexico in a qualifier for the Americas Rugby Challenge.