International Rugby Barbados vs Guyana – RESULTS, “Oh so close!”

Barbados, playing in the Guyana National Stadium which is more accustomed to hosting international cricket matches, came tantalizingly close to beating the current Southern Caribbean Champions, in a rugby match that had such highs and lows as would test the constitution of the strongest heart.

With the wind to their backs, Barbados kicked off deep into the Guyana half and were immediately rewarded with a line-out in the Guyana 22 meter after the home side forwards failed to control the kick-off and let the ball bounce into touch.

A good clean lineout catch and powerful driving maul took Barbados forwards close to the Guyana try line, a few plays later with mounting pressure Barbados forced their way over scoring a try by No. 8 Shaun English after only two minutes of play.

Playing tactics of keeping Guyana pinned deep in their own half, with deft and accurate kicking by No 10 Kevin Carter, powerful dominance in the forwards exchanges, and strong backline defense when Guyana did make attempts to run out of their own half, Barbados were controlling play and were rewarded with further tries by Christian Preece and Shaun English on 26 minutes and 35 minutes respectively, Kevin Carter converting one, returning to the changing rooms with a half time lead 17 – 0.

The teams changed round and the second half started with Guyana, starved of the ball in the first half, resorting to using tactics developed and honed to excellence in their sevens programme of taking quick line-outs and penalties, rucking in the backs and releasing fast ball, hacking and chasing, changed the course of the match for a period and allowed Guyana to use their dangerous backs and wings to run at Barbados.

In a twenty minute period Guyana gained ball, momentum and ascendancy and scored three tries, despite all defensive efforts of the Barbados Team to take the lead 19 – 17.

The last five minutes were all Barbados, the team re-grouped valiantly, gained field position and had two or three long phases of play with mounting pressure in the Guyana 22. Looking for the score that would win them the game, it was now the turn of the Guyana players to throw everything into defending their line, often resorting to illegal play to kill the strong forward attacks.

The last five minutes were all Barbados, the team re-grouped valiantly, gained field position and had two or three long phases of play with mounting pressure in the Guyana 22. Looking for the score that would win them the game, it was now the turn of the Guyana players to throw everything into defending their line, often resorting to illegal play to kill the strong forward attacks.

A last drive saw four drives at the Guyana line and space created for an attempted drop goal which sailed tantalizingly and narrowly wide of the uprights, the referee blew the whistle to the utter dismay of the young Lions. The noisy and prolonged scenes of celebration from the home players and support were testament to a great rugby match and no small relief of having come so close to defeat.

Coach, Stuart Copeland, commenting after the match, said that the pain of defeat was felt by all involved but this was a special group of young players that work extremely hard, give maximum effort and play with pride and commitment. The experience and lessons learned from this match will serve the players well in their next match and beyond.

He also thanked and paid tribute, on behalf of the entire squad, to Antonio Gibbons who was injured and retired after the match after serving rugby in Barbados for over seventeen years.

Barbados, returned home on Sunday evening, and shall prepare for their match against Trinidad this Saturday, knowing that a convincing win is a must and hope that the result in the match between Trinidad and Guyana on 1st June falls in their favour if they hope to proceed to the final against the Champions of the Northern Caribbean. Next match Saturday 25 May – 4pm. Barbados vs. Trinidad & Tobago. Fun flag/tag rugby from 2:00 pm.

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