Guyana men win NAWIRA Rugby Sevens tourney By Lloyda Nicholas

Stabroek News
November 14, 2006

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Members of the Guyana team with their trophies after winning the men's championships at the Garrison Savannah field in Barbados. (Photo Barbados Nation)

Guyana's male rugby team is the new North American and West Indian Rugby Asso-ciation (NAWIRA) Caribbean Sevens Champion after going unbeaten in the Digicel sponsored competition held in Barbados last weekend.

The Guyana team beat favourites Jamaica in the final on Sunday last 34-5 to claim the title. According to the Barbados Nation, "Guyana led by the fleet-footed Claudius Butts, played an aggressive style of rugby not often seen in the Caribbean."

In the first round of matches Guyana came up against Bermuda, Barbados, Marti-nique and St. Vincent & the Grenadines in their group 'A' matches and emerged at the top of their group with 12 points after winning all their matches.

Closest behind was Bermuda with 10 points after losing to Guyana 40-12. Guyana annihilated Marti-nique 33-5 and followed up with another victory over St. Vincent & the Grenadines. In the final match of the first round Guyana beat host Barbados 21-5.

The Guyanese first round blow out secured them a place in the day two pool 1, matching them up against the United States of America South and Mexico.

Guyana beat Mexico 26-19 and the USA South 19-7 and booked their place in the semi-finals.

Guyanese kept the Golden Arrowhead flying high with a blow out victory over Bermuda beating them 33-0 and securing a spot in the final. Jamaica, emerging at the top of their side of the draw, was the hot favourite but the Guyanese continued their aggressive approach and shocked the reggae boys.

Butts was quoted as saying in the Barbados' Nation newspaper:"We took it to them and they couldn't handle it." Butts scored three tries in the match.

Coach Sherlock Solomon told the Caribbean Media Corporation, "We are delighted. This is the first thing we have won in the Caribbean and this feels great, I am truly happy for the boys."

According to unofficial reports the female team emerged fourth in the women's round robin competition after losing to Trinidad and Tobago and the USA Development Eagles.

However, the ladies rallied to beat hosts Barbados 34-0 and restricted eventual champions Jamaica to a nil-all draw.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr. Frank Anthony in a release praised the team saying, "Your performance has given every Guyanese reason to smile and has underlined that success is derived from dedication and discipline. Continue to make this great nation of ours proud."

The teams were expected to return to Guyana last night.