– calls for more support from Government
By Rawle Welch
After reporting that Guyana by virtue of its 22-20 win over Trinidad and Tobago in the NACRA Championship game which was played last Saturday in the Twin Island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, President of the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) Christopher ‘Kit’ Nascimento informed that the country has now earned its highest IRB ranking ever in the 15’s format.
Nascimento, who returned at the helm of the Union following elections last year, has been instrumental in ensuring that the sport continues to do good both locally and regionally.
The GRFU Boss during the briefing which was held at Olympic House on Wednesday said that Guyana’s performance over the past five to six years has been phenomenal, especially when it is taken into account the constant lack of sufficient financial resources to provide the sort of preparations that is required to perform at the optimum level internationally.
Despite the glaring difference in funding, Guyana has repeatedly been able to beat all the regional opposition, a feat that has been ongoing for the past five years. According to Nascimento, Guyana has now broken into the Top 60 on the IRB ranking list after the win in T&T and is currently ranked at 57th climbing seven places from its previous position.
He added that even though a few corporate entities and the Government has offered financial and other related support in the past, substantially more is needed for the team to be able to attain the level of skills and ability to gain success at the highest level.
Nascimento said he feels that if the Government is to inject more money into rugby it should be seen as an investment for the promotion of the country and its sporting achievements.
The national team has been able to rack up an impressive record against regional opponents and many feel that if given the kind of financial infusion that countries such as T&T, Barbados and more recently Jamaica are enjoying, the sport would be able to take off. The President indicated that by any measure, the victory over #42 ranked T&T was indeed significant since they were seen as the powerhouse of 15’s rugby in the Caribbean for a number of years and for Guyana to beat them in their own backyard says a lot about the standard of the game here.
“It is also testimony of our own youth development initiative because we were able to field a very strong 15’s team for the engagement against a team widely regarded as the best in the Region,” Nascimento stated.
Also in attendance at the briefing were National Coach Theodore Henry, Team Captain Claudius Butts, Manager Peter Campayne and Director of Sevens and Chairman of the Selections Committee Mike McCormack, they too made remarks.
Campayne reported on the team’s outstanding performance where they came from behind to beat the defending champions, while Henry congratulated the team on their performance.
He said that it was very difficult enough going up against the #1 ranked team in the first match after almost three years out of playing the 15’s format.
He, however, reminded the team that the ultimate goal is to win the championship and that could only be achieved through the same commitment and hard work that they displayed in a short space of time for the Twin Island clash.
“We have to play against Barbados on June 11 and that will be no easy game so we have to refocus and continue to work hard and not become complacent,” Henry repeated.
Butts too echoed the sentiments expressed by his Coach, adding that he was extremely proud of the team, but called for much better preparations heading into the next game.
He lauded the efforts of the young forwards who according to him performed admirably.
McCormack pointed directly to the problem which he said was a basic lack of adequate funding, adding that Guyana will be heading into the Pan Am Games set for October 15-30 in Mexico short of top level preparations.
“We are going to Mexico to play against some of the best teams in South America and a few that are highly rated in the world without preparations against top flight teams and that is really where the problem lies,” McCormack pointed out.
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