Guyana crush TT’s aspirations once again
-set up clash against Cayman Islands or Bermuda
By Rawle Welch
With shouts of ‘we are Guyanese, we are Guyanese’ inspirational leader Richard Staglon, who led the chorus along with his supporting cast of champions, the Guyana national rugby team inflicted another crushing blow to Trinidad and Tobago’s aspirations after defeating the visitors 20-0 yesterday in the Southern Zone final of the North American and Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Regional Qualifiers for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, at the National Stadium.
The venue has become a sorrowful one for teams from the ‘Land of the Hummingbird’, starting with the ‘Soca Warriors’ who crashed out of the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign after losing to the Guyana ‘Golden Jaguars’ last year.
The Trinidadians who promised revenge for their narrow loss to the Guyanese last year failed to replicate the performance they produced against Barbados in the earlier round and found the Caribbean champions defence impenetrable.
In the opening period, even though Guyana dominated possession, they made uncharacteristic mistakes on offence, but were ferocious on the defensive end, making some important stops, preventing the visitors from entering the score-sheet.
The Trinidadians had two opportunities to take the lead, but two failed attempts at penalties kept the match on even keel, before the hosts opened their account just before the half after a vicious drive in the Trinidad half.
The dreadlocked Theodore Henry took full advantage of some poor defending in the 36th minute and collected a pass off a scrimmage, before finishing the drive over the try-line unimpeded.
Captain Ryan Gonsalves closed the play by making the conversion which gave Guyana a 7-0 lead just before the half time whistle sounded.
On the resumption, with the Trinidadians looking progressively weary, the Guyanese ruggers piled on the pressure with some relentless drives that eventually took its toll on the visitors backline and that allowed Guyana to score its second try in the 53rd minute after a lazy attempt by the Trinidadians to collect a missed penalty resulted in the experienced Claudius Butts bustling into the back zone and snatching the ball out of an opposing player’s hands to score a try.
It was a clear example of a team that was physically worn down and feeling the effects mentally.
Gonsalves once again strode up and buried the conversion to make it a handy 14-0 lead.
Guyana by then were completely in control with the Trinidadians scrambling all over the place trying to defend the calculated onslaught by the Guyanese, but were guilty of several infringements and were penalised on one occasion which saw Guyana being awarded a penalty.
Gonsalves was equal to the task, burying his attempt in the 64th minute much to the delight of the sprinkling of fans that watched the game.
Gonsalves, who by this time was having a sterling game, was there again to score another penalty off another infraction committed in the 78th minute by the Trinidadians and that effectively sealed their fate and evidently condemned another TT team to defeat against Guyana.
The Guyanese now await the outcome of the Bermuda versus Bahamas clash on June 9 to know whether they will play Bermuda or the Cayman Islands.
Meanwhile, Coach Henry speaking with Kaieteur Sport shortly after the game said he doesn’t think the team could make a bigger statement, referring to the earlier boast made by the Trinidadians.
“They are really a good side in the forward department, but we managed to outplay them today (yesterday) and it took a total team effort in addition to the side that wanted it most,” Henry stated.
He added that hard work and an undying will not to give up anything coupled with sturdy defence were the keys to victory.
“We came out with the intention to shut them out totally and I feel that we managed to achieve that goal today (yesterday) and I must mention players such as Richard Staglon and Claudius Butts, whose experience and maturity played a major part in our win,” Henry said.
He added that it makes a difference when you have players who could read the game and make certain decisions because it takes a lot of pressure off the Coach and Captain.