Reggae Warriors in must-win clash
Jamaica’s Reggae Warriors find themselves in a must-win situation against Canada today if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the Rugby League World Cup in 2017. The game will be played in DeLand, Florida.
Last Friday, the 29th ranked Jamaicans lost the first of two qualifiers in a closely contested match 20-14 against the 10th-ranked United States despite dominating huge portions of the game in Florida.
Despite the loss, head coach Romeo Monteith believes the team comprised of local and English-based players can pull off a win against world number 13 Canada but they must be better than they were against the United States.
"Firstly, we need to have the same mental toughness from the USA game,” Monteith said. “We competed for 80 minutes and never gave up. Secondly, we need to take care of the ball and complete our sets. There were too many unforced errors against the USA and finally, we need o shift the ball to the wings quicker and more effectively, that's were our strike players are, they need good service."
On Friday, the USA got off to a fast start, posting two tries in quick succession to take a 10-0 lead but Jamaica dominated possession for the rest of the half, winning eight penalties in a clash of numerous huge collisions and the occasional flare up but, too often, the visitors surrendered the ball in promising positions.
Prop Ross Peltier was a stand out for Jamaica and he sniped over on the half hour, Joel Farrell converting to narrow the gap to four points.
A flurry of tries at the start of the second period, in which Jamaica again dominated possession, saw the game open up. Powerful centre Danny Howard was the first across for the USA but Jamaica hit back shortly thereafter in what remained a close encounter until the very end.
The team held their final training session yesterday ahead of today’s match.