National Sevens team is an investment in the future
By Isaiah Chappelle
June 2, 2004
WITH just two experienced players in the National Sevens rugby team, president of the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) Kit Nascimento called the composition an investment in the future.
The GRFU hosted a press conference at the Guyana Motor Racing & Sports Club (GMR&SC) clubhouse, yesterday, to give details on the team’s preparation for the North American & West Indies Rugby Association (NAWIRA) World Cup qualifying series billed for the Cayman Islands, next week, June 8 and 9.
Representatives of the 29 companies that injected sponsorship for the tour were invited to the press conference. Those attending were from GEMS, Neil & Massy, Guyana Telephone & Telegraph Company (GT&T), Western Union and Gafsons Industries.
Nacimento declared: “It is the most important tournament that Guyana attended so far. The winner goes straight to World Cup finals.”
The GRFU head also pointed out that the West Indies champions would be decided and that team would qualify for International Rugby Board (IRB) World Sevens Series billed for Los Angeles next February, and should there be no other regional championships, that team would also qualify for the Commonwealth Games.
Nascimento, however, disclosed that participation would not have been possible without “substantial assistance” from the IRB, government and the 29 companies. He said the trip to the venue was almost US$1000 per person of which BWIA was chunking off part of the fare.
“Without this kind of corporate support, sport in general in Guyana, would not progress to the level of international competition. Those companies are keeping the young men on the playing field and sending them abroad and introducing them to the highest of international competition.”
The IRB, also, funded international coach David Hill to help with the team’s preparation and to be part of the coaching team in the championship.
Hill also thanked the sponsors and said the contribution should be duly noted.
“Your effect on some of these players will go far beyond this tournament. There are quite a few young players in the squad, Under-18, it really serves as a carrot for other players to aspire and see that they can actually play on a national team. By making this possible, you can really affect the youth in this country.”
The IRB staff coach said the funding gave them an opportunity to play a sport like rugby to get some international experience and travel to see some different places in the world.
Hill said he was here to assist in some technical and tactical aspects of the game, disclosing that National coach Solomon had already prepared the team physically and skillfully on which he would be building.
The coaching team will be looking at the speed of the game which would be different from what the players are accustomed to.
“We will be challenging the players to raise the speed of the game and that’s not how fast they run, but how fast they can get into an organised position to attack or defend.”
Another aspect will be motivation, which envelops work ethics that is enhanced by the love of the game.
Defence will be the other focus to ensure that it is sound and knowing exactly what would be done in the defensive role.
Techical Director Noel Adonis, who is appointed manager, disclosed that the squad was in training since February, going through a variety of skills and sequences of tactics and strategy, and were now at stage for Hill’s intervention.
Chronicle Sport pointed out that just Troy Arjoon and Terrence Mc Calmon were really experienced players, and asked for the rationale in selecting a young team for such important engagement.
Adonis said that the records might show that Arjoon and Mc Calmon were the most experienced, but several players have been playing at the international level as National youth players.
“They have played against a high level of competitors and have an appreciation of what it takes to raise their level of performance. A lot of them have played sevens competitions not only in the West Indies, but also out of the region.”
The manager pointed out that the only extra-regional team was the USA, so the players know what to expect from the other teams.
Nascimento said the team was an interesting combination of experience and youth, but acknowledged that they meet teams with players of greater expericence.
“We also think it is an investment in the future. There is at least one West Indian team that has hung on to older players for far too long, and as a result, they’re beginning to lose games quite rapidly and they were once the West Indies champions.”
Hill said: “Youthful enthusiasm could be a benefit. The experience they need is to play together as a team.”