Rugby administrators on the ball
--says Regional Development Officer By Isaiah Chappelle
Guyana Chronicle
July 26, 2002

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GUYANA´S rugby administrators are on the ball for the development of the game here, according to newly appointed Regional Development Manager, Tom Jones.

Watching the exhibition game between the President´s XV and the Vice-President´s XV, Wednesday afternoon at the National Park, Jones said: "Outstanding. It was really good to watch."

The Regional Development Manager for North American and West Indies Regional Association (NAWIRA) is on a familiarisation tour of the countries under his purview, during which he is sharing the development thrust of the International Rugby Board.

NAWIRA covers the mostly English-speaking north, including the USA, Canada and West Indies.

NAWIRA and Latin countries of the south, under the CONSUR grouping, make up the Pan-American Regional Association.

The Canada-based officer arrived here on Tuesday, conducted workshops with coaches and referees then worked with the seniors in the afternoon to wrap up the day´s programme.

On Wednesday, Jones worked with junior players, made a courtesy call on Minister of Sport Gail Teixeira then witnessed the exhibition match to roughly evaluate the standard of play.

"What makes me most happy is to see 40 guys thoroughly enjoying the game," Jones told the players.

"You are the game, not the executives," Jones declared but pointed out there must be a good executive to make the game play.

Jones told Chronicle Sport that, compared with many other countries, the GRFU was a "well-organised" rugby union.

"There is a good executive, knows what it is doing, knows what it wants to do, and has realised that the future of the game is in youth development and technical development and is heading down that road," Jones said.

Jones also pointed out that the two teams played "extremely good" rugby in terrible conditions with the ball being very wet and muddy.

"So you´ve got good stuff here on and off the field," Jones declared.

Jones has already visited USA and Canada with huge unions, along with Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent and Grenadines, Martinique, Trinidad & Tobago and is yet to visit Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

"I can tell you what I see here compares very favourably with what I saw in Barbados, but I believe there is a better understanding that the future of the game is in youth and in schools. Not every union has determined that," Jones said.

Asked what areas, the local game has to develop technically, Jones replied: "We all have to get better in every area. I wouldn´t say there is one particular area, but I know in all areas, work is being done," Jones said.

The development officer said he worked with the coaches but pointed out that his job was not to tell the coaches how to play the game.

"It is an important point that the people who understand best about coaching in Guyana are the Guyanese people. And they´ve grown up in the game here; they understand how the game can be played in this environment. My job was to facilitate a discussion and it was good quality discussion," Jones disclosed.

Jones said the referees were very serious about the rugby laws and how they should be implemented.

"Together we came up with game management principles for the game here," Jones said.

The regional development manager completed his visit by working with the players and departed these shores yesterday.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time here," Jones declared.