Three days shy of a year ago, the Cayman Islands, one of the region’s strongest teams in youth rugby defeated T&T on a kicking competition after the two teams were unable to be separated at full time. Today, the young Calypso Warriors have the opportunity to snatch the North American and Caribbean Rugby Associaition (NACRA) Under-19 Championship, when the same two nations convene in the potentially thrilling final, in Mexico City. The deserving finalists, T&T and the Cayman Islands, advanced with stellar performances which saw the two teams glide past their opponents, Mexico’s Aztecs (44-6) and Barbados (60-0), respectively, four days prior.
In truth, the well-drilled Peter George Bacchus coached T&T team, which started slowly against a fringe Mexican team in the match leading up, may have scored more than just a hat-trick from Exiles’ Wasiym Stewart, a double from Caribs’ Hasani Rodney and lone tries from Olton Charles (Caribs) and Jamaal Stewart (Exiles), after building strong momentum. Accurate kicking from Rodney, Stewart (Jamaal) and Andrew Phillips contributed to a T&T’s high scoreline, which still seemed likely to widen during the closing moments. The Aztecs, essencially the Mexican “B” team actually filled in for the Pool A Jamaican team which opted out of the tournament just before commencement. On the same day, the defending champion Cayman Islands demolished Barbados 60-0, indicating to all and sundry that they are well and truly the favourites heading into the final. Cayman, in its opening match dropped the host nation, Mexico’s “A” team 11-6 for the perfect start to the torunament, just after T&T defeated Bermuda 19-11 in a tight, tactical encounter.