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Ja Rugby 9's team praised by coach

Published:Friday | May 22, 2015 | 5:00 AMLeighton Levy

National Rugby League coach Romeo Monteith was full of praise for his Reggae Warriors that were last weekend declared joint champions of the 2015 USA Rugby League 9's Championships held at the A. A. Garthwaite Stadium in Conshohocken, Philadelphia.

The Jamaica 'A' team was tied 6-6 at half-time, with the Philadelphia Fight in the final, when lightning caused the game to be called off. Jamaica's Renaldo Wade was also one of two MVPs named for the tournament. The Fight's Rhys Bowdich was the other.

Wade was outstanding throughout the tournament in which games lasted for 18

minutes. He used speed and deft footwork to create holes for himself and teammates in their opponents' defence. Renaldo scored an incredible nine tries during the tournament and also converted many of those tries, including one at the buzzer to get his team into the semi-finals against the Brantford Broncos.

Group matches

In group play in the eight-team tournament, the Reggae Warriors defeated the Brooklyn Kings 24-0, but lost to the Fight 4-14 and Canadian team Brantford Broncos 4-26. Following group play, the teams were reseeded and then engaged in inter-group play. There, the Warriors advanced eliminating the Broncos and Echidnas en route to the final.

"Overall, it was a very good performance by the team," Monteith said. "We paced ourselves throughout the day because our objective was to make at the least the semi-finals."

Monteith revealed that the loss against the Broncos resulted from a strategy not to show their true strength too early. Wade was introduced into the game in the final minutes and some of their stronger players were left out all together.

"It was our plan not to lose, but we didn't field our strongest team against them because we knew we would play them again in the knockout game. So we were pretty confident even though they beat us the first time."

Monteith said the Reggae Warriors shocked the Canadians in the knockout game because "they never expected the kind of firepower that we came out with. We only scored four points when we played them the first time, but we scored 28 points against them in the knockout match."