Under-19 Crocs seek higher RANs seeding
The Jamaica Crocs Under-19 Rugby Union will return to Florida today to take part in the Rugby Americas North (RANs) Super Week Cup competition, and head coach Huntley Anderson said that the aim this year is to gain a higher seeding in order to maintain its status in future stagings of the competition.
The Under-19 Crocs won last year's tournament division with a 50-0 win over the Bahamas in the final. The victory was considered an upset, and this year the Jamaicans will be looking to get started with a win of a similar nature as they take on favourites and hosts the United States on Saturday.
Anderson said that he has been scouting the Americans for a number of years and believes his team, which he says possesses both speed and physicality, can win the match.
"We have been preparing for the last few years," Anderson said. "From 2013 when we played against the US, we lost badly, 32-5. Since then, we have been preparing (to face them again). From before I even took over the programme, it was really about preparing for the US.
"Most of the coaching that I have been doing, looking back, reflecting on what took place before, I knew that we would have got the US from last year when we won the trophy division because we had been seeded eight (for this year). All the preparation that would've gone into this year would've been directed at the US team that we'll be playing."
Anderson said that a win over the Americans should see the Jamaicans move from eighth seed to possibly third.
He added that he managed to retain just over half of his squad from last year; however, the newcomers to the team are mainly local youngsters around the age of 16 years old.
"I had them in training from last year but they never made the final cut for reasons ranging from not having a passport to not being prepared mentally," Anderson said. "What I did this year was to transition those players into the position where they can be developed. It's a mixture between players that are experienced playing rugby at a club level here locally, Union and League (the two formats of Rugby). I got some players between 16 and 17 to have them playing at least two or three years, as well."
Anderson said that part of his plan is to create a policy which allows more experience for young local players, which also creates a specific philosophy and identity on how the team should play.
"I have a policy where I want three per cent of the squad made up of international players. I don't want more than that because I want to give the local boys an opportunity (to gain exposure)," he said.
The Jamaica Under-19 Crocs leave the island at 2:45 this afternoon.