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Rugby teams praised for ‘exemplary display'

Published:Thursday | July 28, 2016 | 7:00 AMShayne Fairman
Jerry Benzwick

Jamaica Under-19 boys and girls' rugby teams put on an impressive showing at the recently concluded Rugby Americas North (RAN) tournament in Miami, Florida, placing first and third, respectively.

Victory saw the boys winning the trophy zone and getting propelled back into premier cup competition.

The Huntley Anderson-coached male team outclassed Guyana 24-9, then in matches against the same opponent, they eased past Bahamas 17-10 in the first game, then 50-0 in the final.

The girls, who played a 10-a-side competition, lost to Trinidad and Tobago and eventual champions the United States of America South.

However, they rebounded to hammer The Bahamas 27-0 for third place.

Jamaica's team manager, Jerry Benzwick, praised the teams "exemplary performance", despite the country being out of competition for about two years.

"We have moved up in standard. We are going to be pooled with elite teams like Mexico, American North, Cayman, Trinidad and Bermuda," he said, while noting that the male team was there in Florida for one week, while the females came for half of that duration.

Benzwick had promised that he would have been running for the chairman of the local rugby federation at last night's annual general meeting, as he hopes to bring "passion, energy and vision to the organisation".

He is advising that the RAN tournament can be watched on YouTube, adding that it was good to see Jamaica play tactical and complete games, make adjustments and outwit their rivals.

When asked if he was disappointed with the female team's performance, Benzwick said they played well enough to come out winners and had they minimised mistakes, they would have.

"I am hoping to bring the same energy we saw displayed on the field to the leadership. I think it will be a good team sport for us in Jamaica, as we have the speed, the talent and the size," he assured.