Says Butts ahead of IRB Sevens’ Series
By Edison Jefford
National Men’s Rugby Captain, Claudius Butts is adamant that his side still have miles to go to reach the desired standard necessary for the upcoming International Rugby Board’s (IRB) World Sevens’ Series in Las Vegas next month.
“We are not up to the intended fitness level yet. We still have a lot of work to put in over the next few weeks,” Butts, who also captains the West Indies Rugby team, told Kaieteur Sport at a practice session in the National Park on Wednesday.
Guyana’s male and female Rugby teams had qualified for the World Sevens Series when they defended their Caribbean Championship titles in Mexico late last year. However, it was made public that only the men will tour Las Vegas.
The feat in Mexico gave the male side an unprecedented fourth consecutive title while the women won their second title in a row. Economic, among other factors however, forced a decision to focus on the male team for the Vegas tour.
West Indies’ Rugby Head Coach, Joe Whipple, who the Guyana Rugby Football Union is consulting as its Technical Director is expected in Guyana today for what Butts described as a “mini camp” following Wednesday’s Beep Tests.
“This weekend will be a packed one because Joe will be here on Friday (today), Saturday and Sunday for our sessions. We will be doing some video analysis of our game to get an insight into our upcoming technical approach,” Butts said.
The preparation of the senior male team became increasingly important since a win at the IRB Series will further give them the opportunity of playing in the London 2012 Olympic Games. The Las Vegas outing is of immense significance.
Guyana will also host the Central American and Caribbean Sport Organisation (CACSO) Rugby tournament later this year, which will give the local teams the chance of salvaging national pride at home in the international competition.
Butts is weaving his way back into competitive Rugby after undergoing knee surgery that kept him out of the sport since Mexico. He understands that the team must be of optimum fitness to face some of the best teams in the world.
“As you know, I am now recovering from the knee surgery, so I am basically just playing catch-up to the rest of the guys, who have been working since Mexico. Its fitness and few combination game-like scenarios,” Butts told this newspaper.
He believes that he will be fully fit for the Las Vegas event. According to the Guyana and West Indies’ Rugby Captain, success at the World Seven Series will heavily rely on those senior and exposed players in the local men’s team.
Butts said that Kelvin Mckenzie, who played in Ireland and for the West Indies; Trinidad and Tobago-based Richard Staglon, Albert LaRose and Theodore Henry, who are all West Indies players, will have major responsibility in Las Vegas.
“Between myself, McKenzie, LaRose, Staggy (Staglon) and Theo (Henry there is some of the kind of exposure that will be necessary in Vegas. We will have to pull some of others with us to pull this thing off for Guyana,” the captain said.
“We have the full fifteen that was called up at our practice sessions now. I think that is an important factor because we will have the chance of training and gelling together not like in the past, which is very, very good for us,” Butts continued.
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