Sun | Feb 18, 2018

Rugby boss appeals for support

Published:Wednesday | January 31, 2018 | 12:00 AMAkino Ming/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica Rugby Football Union chairman Jerry Benzwick.

After many local players missed the Rugby Americas North Sevens competition in Mexico last November because they were unable to fund their plane fares, Jamaica Rugby Union president, Jerry Benzwick, is calling on Corporate Jamaica to come on board to ensure that the same thing does not happen when it's time for the team to depart for the World Cup tournament in March.

"A lot of local players had the opportunity to be a part of that team but we didn't have the funds to pay for them. All the players who went to Mexico from the United Kingdom paid their own fares," Benzwick said.

One of the players who was selected to compete in the North Sevens competition but could not take up that opportunity was Oshane Edie. He is hoping to make the trip to San Francisco in July as he believes it will give him an opportunity to realise one of his dreams.

"The dream was always that you want to play rugby and get paid," Edie said. "Playing in the World Cup will expose us to clubs in England, Australia and United States."

To help Edie and other local players realise their dreams, Benzwick said the Union has been sending out letters to a number of corporate entities to secure funding to finance the trip.

"We are definitely sending out letters and try to get some attention from everybody to see who will take the bait," Benzwick said. "We need to pay for our players to go to preliminary tournaments before the World Cup so that they can bond because all the other teams do it."

He continued: "It is important that we do this because when you get there without playing in a real tournament, you are at a loss. I would want to take most of those boys [English-based players] down here before the World Cup. We would want Jamaica to meet them."

Benzwick said that he thought their qualification would spark the interest of Corporate Jamaica but they have not got an offer as yet.

"We have not attracted a full sponsor. We are hoping that will change quickly because we are doing a lot to make that happen," he said.