What’s next for the Soca Warriors?
I suppose that the answer to that question is more complicated than losing a football match or even a regional tournament.
A number of communities from South Trinidad will come together for the final day of competition in the Flow South Central Rugby League (SCRL), at Skinner Park, San Fernando, tonight.
Boys and girls with a range of abilities, from those with little experience to some who were exposed to international competition recently will be on show at the ten-a-side event which is carded to run from 6-10 pm. It will be full contact rugby.
Kicking off the night will be a clash between Basse Terre and Guapo. Rainbow SCC and Sixth Company will follow, before the first girls’ fixture featuring a combination of Sixth Company and Guapo combine against Rainbow SCC. The event will conclude following the feature match between Exiles and Rainbow SCC, which is carded to start at approximately 8.30 pm. Exiles and Rainbow are the only clubs from South currently in the national youth league system and have dominated the SCRL ahead of tonight’s final. The winners of each match will receive awards supplied by Flow.
The event is geared primarily to players at the Under-19 levels and younger divisions, most of whom were introduced to a rugby caravan initiated by Rudolph Jack, former national player and technical director of the Flow South Central Rugby League, and assisted by Flow. This evening’s event has also been supported by the Mouttet Group.
Through the assistance of Flow, Jack has managed to spread interest in the sport of rugby throughout a number of villages and towns in South Trinidad. Jack, who founded Rainbow SCC almost three decades ago has faced several challenges in the tedious task of promoting the sport largely unknown to the region, but said he now feels a sense of accomplishment heading into the finale of the South Central Rugby League in its first season.
“Since the caravan began in February, many children have been exposed to the sport. A couple players have even gotten into the Club Select team, which we fielded at the Nacra Under-19 Championships, last month. They represent some of the teams which only came on board from the caravan,” said Jack.
He noted three players from Basse Terre, brothers Ted and Declan Davis and Miles Brian, all of whom quickly moved up the ranks to earn a spot in the Club Select team. Exiles player Jarron Panton also made it into the Club Select, while his brother Leon Panton was in the T&T Championship team. Jack also helped produce a number of players who are in the national ranks including his son, another national Under-19 player Themba Jack, as well as Agboola Silverthorne, who is regarded by many in the rugby fraternity as one of the most promising young players. He plays for the senior national men’s team.
Since the sport was officially introduced in this country in 1922, no such youth-focused event has made it way South and into the rural communities. He said plans remain in place to introduce the sport to more communities. Jack credited former T&T Rugby Football Union secretary and current T&T Olympic Committee president Brian Lewis as the person who introduced an initiative to introduce rugby into rural communities.
The next major initiative by the South Central Rugby League is for it to host a knockout tournament in the 7s format, in November. Jack said the shorter format is the future of the sport in this country.