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T&T rugby teams 4th in Mexico
T&T’s senior men’s team led by Joseph Quashie qualified for the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organisation (CACSO) Games following this weekend’s intense competition in the Rugby Americas North (RAN) Sevens Tournament held over the weekend at Fronton Campo Mart in Mexico City, Mexico.
The local team placed fourth to take the final automatic spot as the top four teams in the men’s competition advanced while the top three in the women’s qualify. This means despite some impressive play by Juliana Straker, Ornella George, and Fayola Jack over the two days, the T&T women’s team, who also placed fourth, did not progress.
Jamaica men and Mexico women won to book their ticket to next year’s Rugby World Cup in San Francisco. Runner-up French Guiana and third-placed Jamaica women will also attend. Mexico women also earned a spot in Hong Kong Sevens, while Jamaica men will head to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, also set for next year.
At the event, the 10 men’s teams were split into three pools. T&T, hosts Mexico, Curacao and British Virgin Islands (BVI) played in Pool C while Jamaica, Bermuda and the Dominican Republic are in Pool B and in Pool A, Guyana met Barbados and the Cayman Islands.
On the opening day, T&T was in second place holding opponents to zero tries. It improved upon their first match against British Virgin Islands (38-0) by scoring 70 points against Curacao. Leon Pantor once again controlled the game with his kicking at the restart and distribution in midfield. Nigel Ballington also let the team with several tries. However in its lone match in the afternoon session, T&T fell to the Mexicans narrowly, 19-7.
On day two, T&T got the better of Bermuda (22-19) but suffered a 14-7 loss to Guyana before the men’s pool contenders faced off against one another to determine the first through sixth place rankings. Then T&T match-up against Mexico in the third and fourth place playoff and went under 14-22.
In the seven-team round-robin women’s tournament, T&T’s steady dominance saw them open on Saturday with a 24-point shutout of Bermuda. Straker, George and Jack caused headaches with their strength and opened doors for the rest of the team. The local team followed up with wins over Guyana (12-5) and French Guiana (24-14) to close day one.
T&T 38 vs BVI 0
T&T 70 vs Curacao 0
T&T 7 vs Mexico 19
T&T 22 vs Bermuda 19
T&T 7 vs Guyana 14
Third/fourth place: T&T 14 vs Mexico 22
Fifth/sixth place: Bermuda 14 vs Cayman Islands 21
Guyana 24 vs Jamaica 28
T&T 24 vs Bermuda 0
T&T 12 vs Guyana 5
T&T 24 vs French Guiana 14
T&T 5 vs Jamaica 29
T&T 21 vs Dominican Republic 5
T&T 0 vs Mexico 5
Nicolette Pantor (captain), Juliana Straker, Ornella George, Fayola Jack, Blossom Stewart, Kathleen Stephen, Maria Thomas, Kanisha Vincent, Pateia Paul, Marika Mendez, Dalia Jordan-Brown, Victoria Carliste.
Officials: Carlton Felix (coach), Kelson Figaro (assistant coach), Jenilee Limada (manager), Derek Ashby-Williams (physiotherapist)
Johnathan Appleby, Nigel Ballington, Shakeel Dyte, Keston Earle, Shakir Flemming, Wayne Kelly, Leon Pantor, James Phillip, Joseph Quashie (captain), Jesse Richards, Agboola Silverthorn, Keishon Walker
Officials: Larry Mendez (coach), Felician Guerra (assistant coach), Curtis Nero (manager), Daniel Forde (physiotherapist)