English-based Kevin McKenzie’s unconverted try three minutes before the end, gave Guyana a thrilling 22-20 win over defending Caribbean rugby champions T&T at the St Mary’s College ground on Saturday.
The North America and Caribbean Rugby Association’s (NACRA) Caribbean South Zone second round fixture lived up to its billing.
T&T missed penalty attempts inside the first ten minutes by scrum half and designated kicker Justin McLean. In the 20th minute, an unconverted try by second row forward Peter Bacchus gave T&T a 5-nil lead. This was doubled in the 28th minute when a similar sequence gave Bacchus his second try which McLean failed to convert.
In the 35th minute, Guyana flanker Richard Staglon cut the lead to 10-5. Two minutes before the break, McLean’s kicking woes continued with another missed penalty conversion.
On the resumption, a fired up Guyana laid siege on the T&T line and in the 43rd minute, T&T flanker Gordon Dalgleish was shown the yellow card for an infringement and Guyana took advantage to snatch a 12-10 lead with a McKenzie try which was converted by scrum half Ryan Gonsalves.
In the 52nd minute, McLean missed another penalty, but T&T reclaimed a 15-12 lead in the 57th minute with an unconverted try by James Phillip and second row forward Andrew Crooks made it 20-12. Aasan Lewis, a half time replacement was handed the tee, but his conversion attempt struck the post. Guyana, led by their inspirational captain Claudius Butts showed their championship qualities and in the remaining eight minutes made two unconverted tries in the 75th and 78th minutes which led to a frantic and nerve wracking end as the visitors just edged home. The final whistle sparked wild celebrations by the Guyanese players and technical staff, a stark contrast to the distraught T&T players.
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