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Rugby team calls up 13 uncapped players
T&T Rugby Football Union (TTRFU) chairman of selectors, Curtis Nero has announced the 22 man contingent, including 13 uncapped players to begin the 2011 Men’s 15 a-side Championship title defence against Barbados on May 21. The round two match to be played at the Garrison Savannah in Bridgetown, will see T&T captained by Adam Frederick, who previously led the Calypso Warriors to the Caribbean Rugby Championship 2008 in the Cayman Islands.
Nero explained that despite the fact that many changes have been made to the team, more can be made in the event of injury or disciplinary indiscretions before the May 20 departure to Barbados. “The players understand that while 22 have been named, it does not mean players not selected for are out of contention for upcoming matches including Guyana here at home on Saturday May 28,” said Nero.
The chairman who both captained an managed the national team in the past then assured that all uncapped players have had experience playing for the national under-19 and several other developmental teams.
“I am encouraged by the progression and improvement shown. We have focused on long term player development with the Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifiers, Rugby World Cup 2013 and the London 2016 Olympics very much in our thoughts.’ he said. I have high hopes for some of the young players coming through. Though 13 have been selected for Barbados, there are others making strong claims for selection. “It is a jump up from national under 19 and club rugby. But the only way we will find out who can make the step up is to give them the opportunity. The players selected have all earned their selection. It was not an easy matter coming up with 22 from the 38 player training squad.
The selection and preparation process started since December last year and generally speaking all the players have trained with a sense of purpose. Succeeding at the international level is shaped by your attitude, discipline and character more than talent and potential. Some of the younger players really showed a hunger and determination to make the match squad.” Nero said that emphasis has been placed on the disciplinary development of the younger players through lectures on doping while the union encourages fitness, wellbeing, punctuality, appropriate attire and team work.
“We have instilled in the players the philosophy that they are 100 per cent responsible for attaining and maintaining a high level of physical fitness, strength and conditioning.” He believes that with the addition of new players along with recently signed coaches, Larry Mendez and Dale Trotman, T&T rugby is going through an “exciting time.” This year’s objective according to Nero is to retain the Caribbean title and improve our International Rugby Board (IRB) ranking. Nero then extended condolences on behalf of the TTRFU to the family and friends of media personality Allison Hennessey who passed away last week. Hennessey was well a known enthusiast of the T&T national rugby team as well as Caribs RFC.
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