September 20, 2020

Cayman Islands to face Bahamas in Rugby World Cup Qualifier

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The Cayman Islands will be back on the international rugby scene in just under two weeks as the country begins the path toward IRB World Cup 2015 qualification.

The team is scheduled to face the Bahamas on their own Cayman turf in Group Stage II of the Rugby World Cup Qualifiers on May 26.

Cayman surprised the NACRA region with a surprising 43-16 victory over Mexico last month that led to their stage II berth and altered what was expected to be another tough match in the Mexico-Bahamas series.

The Bahamas defeated Mexico 17-12 in the last meeting between the two – the NACRA 15s Championships last May. Their previous win over Mexico came in 2008.

The Bahamas Expectations may be even higher heading into the match against Cayman as cayman has not beaten the Bahamas since 2003.

A win for the Bahamas in Cayman will make the home game against Bermuda on June 9 the North Caribbean Final.

The winners progress to play the South Caribbean Champions in July.

In April, the 2015 World Cup Qualifiers began with the opening game between Mexico and Jamaica – a match, which Mexico won 68-14.

The North Caribbean region has a pre-qualification group, which includes Mexico, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Cayman was the winner of that group and advanced to compete with Bermuda and the Bahamas.

In July, the winner of that round is scheduled to play the winners of the South Caribbean Group for the title of Caribbean Champions.

The Bahamas is ranked third overall in the Caribbean and 86th overall in the International Rugby Board rankings. Bermuda is currently the top-ranked side with an IRB ranking of 48 and Guyana second with a ranking of 48. Trinidad and Tobago is ranked fourth, while Mexico rounds out the top five.

Bahamas Rugby Football Union director Elystan Miles said the pre-training sessions should benefit the teams in terms of conditioning and chemistry as the tournaments approach.

“Training sessions have been incredible. The turnout has been good so far, better than expected, actually with more and more guys coming out because sevens is such an attractive version of the game,” he said. “For now, the players have been coaching themselves and going through mini-camps and workouts with what we call ‘Renegade Rugby’ and that has actually been quite beneficial in helping the team form a bond. Locally, rugby has really come along at the club level and that has helped the national team programme in recent years.”

Men’s teams will also look to qualify in international sevens play.

The regional qualifier for the 2013 RWC Sevens Finals is scheduled to take place at Twin Elms Rugby Park in Ottawa, Canada, August 25-26.

Two teams – from the men’s tourney and the women’s tournament – will emerge and qualify for the finals set to be held in Russia.

Canada and the US will be strong favourites in the men’s tournament, with expected opposition from Caribbean champions Guyana. The Bahamas will join the field, which also includes Bermuda, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Originally formed in March 2001 under the name of North America and West Indies Rugby Association (“NAWIRA”), NACRA is one of the six IRB regional associations.

NACRA is the governing body of the 13 Unions in the North America Caribbean Rugby Association. Its membership is diverse and currently includes the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, St Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the US.

 

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