Fri | Sep 17, 2021

Benzwick uneasy about Lady Crocs prep

Published:Monday | June 14, 2021 | 12:09 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica’s Lady Crocs rugby union team.
Jamaica’s Lady Crocs rugby union team.
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Jamaica Rugby Football Union (JRFU) Chairman Jerry Benzwick says that the nation’s senior men’s and women’s teams have left the island for tournaments without as much preparation as they would have liked. The Crocs and Lady Crocs left the island...

Jamaica Rugby Football Union (JRFU) Chairman Jerry Benzwick says that the nation’s senior men’s and women’s teams have left the island for tournaments without as much preparation as they would have liked.

The Crocs and Lady Crocs left the island yesterday for the World Rugby Sevens Repêchage tournament and Olympic Games qualifiers in Monaco this weekend.

While the Crocs is largely United Kingdom-based and in active competition, the Lady Crocs is mostly made up of local-based players and were only able to train together for a week after months of inactivity because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Benzwick says that the JRFU achieved this through a five-day biosecure camp in Mandeville.

GOOD VIBES

“We had the group together, and it’s a good vibes,” Benzwick said. “The rust is there, and they can see it, but they have benefited a great deal from being together, and they have been working hard to get themselves back into the groove.

“They have been away from each other and have not been under any tutelage. And for females who are developing in the sport, that is not a good thing.”

Benzwick said that when you have players who work or go to school and do not play at a professional level, they need consistent, prolonged training to improve.

“So other players who have been playing with their clubs and just playing a lot of rugby, for them it is easier to transition back to playing.

“But for girls who play sometimes and don’t get to play a lot, and don’t have a lot of competitions for them, then they need a lot more time to train and more time together.

“We are just happy we got a chance to pull them together in a safe space. It was really nice to have them in camp.

“We just wanted more time for them to prepare for a competition of this nature. You need months of training for a tournament like this, and other teams have done that.”

The Lady Crocs will face Papua New Guinea, Tunisia, and Kazakhstan in their preliminary fixtures. The Crocs will be grouped with France, Hong Kong, Chile, and Uganda.

The two finalists from the women’s tournament will qualify for the Olympics while only the winner of the men’s competition will advance to Tokyo.

The Crocs will play their opening match against Uganda on Saturday and then France later that day.

The Lady Crocs open against Kazakhstan then play Hong Kong later in the day.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com