RUGBY BARBADOS SEVENS WINS BOWL IN RUGBY WORLD CUP QUALIFIER
The Barbados National Rugby Sevens team recently won the Bowl trophy at the 2013 Rugby World Cup qualifiers held in Ottawa, Canada on August 25th-26th.
The Bajans started fast with consecutive 19-12 wins over the number one and two seeds in the Caribbean/Mexico region, Guyana and the Cayman Islands respectively. These historic wins put them top of their pool heading into their final game. However, a flat performance combined with some questionable refereeing calls led to a 17-0 loss to Trinidad and Tobago, which dropped them to third place in the group and into the quarter-finals against Canada, the eventual winners of the tournament.
Barbados was not up to the challenge and fell 45-7, becoming only the second Caribbean team to score against Canada in the tournament in the process. In the plate semi-final, they led at the half 14-5 but again disappointingly fell to Trinidad 19-14. Challenged to finish the tournament on a positive note after a promising start, they completed the tournament with an emphatic 29-0 win over Bahamas to place seventh overall and fifth among the Caribbean/Mexico teams.
The scoring was balanced among the Bajans with Phil Lucas, Tom Lucas, Leon Driscoll, Sean Ward and Jae Bowen scoring two tries each. Barbados’s fifth place finish among the Caribbean/Mexico teams was their highest ever in a NACRA Rugby Sevens tournament, and a huge improvement over their 15th place finish in 2011 when they hosted the tournament at the Garrison Savannah..
Head coach Joe Whipple commented, “We got off to a great start with wins over the top seeds but we followed it up with a poor performance against TnT. It was a painful but necessary learning experience that we need team rather than individual play. In our final game, we put together a very strong team effort and dominated all phases of play. We have a young team and going forward this team has the ability to do some special things in the Region. We have a number of other players looking to put their hand up for selection so it is going to be very competitive for spots on the squad. After reviewing the video and player surveys, we will put together a game plan to take us to the Central American and Commonwealth Games qualifier in 2013.”
The annual NACRA Rugby Sevens tournaments take on added significance over the next three years heading into the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where Rugby Sevens will feature for the first time.
BRFU President George Nicholson commented, “I told the players after their last game that even though several of them are not based in Barbados, they played with Barbados in their hearts and that we are very proud of them. While we did not achieve our goal of at least a third place finish in Ottawa, we are looking ahead to the next three years where the rewards for success are considerable”
The 2013 NACRA Sevens Tournament will serve as the qualifier for the CACSO and Commonwealth Games in 2014 and the 2014 NACRA Sevens as the qualifier for the Pan American Games in 2015. In addition, each year the winning team at the NACRA Rugby Sevens tournament is invited to the IRB Sevens World Series Qualifying tournament in Hong Kong with a chance at a spot on the Sevens World Series at stake for the top three finishers in that tournament.