May 24, 2013 Sports
Smarting from a narrow 19-17 win over Barbados almost one week ago, defending Southern Caribbean champions Guyana will no doubt be looking for an improved performance when they clash with Trinidad and Tobago in the NACRA Men’s 15’s Championship game in the Twin Island Republic on June 1.
Kaieteur Sport caught up with national Coach Theodore Henry during a light practice session on Wednesday, at the National Park where he underscored the need for the players to be more focused in the Trinidad encounter as compared to the Barbados game when Guyana looked completely out of sorts in the opening period, before a second half resurgence saw them over the line.
“We’ve been starting very slowly in many of our games for some time now and it is an issue that the coaching staff has consistently tried to address and remedy, but somehow the same pattern emerges all the time,” Henry lamented during the interview.
He, however, was quick to point out that the team did not have the privilege to play 15’s rugby since its last encounter against Bermuda at the National Stadium last July and the focus could have been affected by the lack of game scenarios.
Henry expressed the hope that with one game under their belts, the ‘guys’ would be able to replicate the same type of hard-nosed and determined effort that characterized their second half performance against Barbados last weekend when they clash with Trinidad.
“I’m confident that we could beat any team when we are focused, but the ‘guys’ continue to start slow and this has been the achilles heel for us in both the 7’s and 15’s formats and we’ve got to be ready from the beginning,” Henry said.
He reckoned that the problem is more mental than tactical or technical, even going as far as ruling out the opposition’s physical superiority as another reason for the team’s usual opening period dilemma.
The Head Coach urged the players to be ready for a fierce battle against the Trinidadians, especially since they will be playing at home which is usually hostile territory for visiting teams.
“Their support base could be intimidating at times, but we’ve played against them before at home and I feel that we could handle the partisan support, while the fact that many of our players have played and are still playing on the Island makes it a bit more comforting for us.
Henry reminded that the last time Guyana played them at home it took a last minute try from Kevin McKenzie to secure victory.
McKenzie as many would know now resides in Australia and has not been available for Guyana for some time, but Henry still believes that the current crop of players have the ability to maintain Guyana’s dominance on the regional circuit.
Meanwhile, a couple of players including Captain Ryan Gonsalves and Dwayne Schroeder appeared to be nursing slight injures and soreness following the last game and were noticeably absent from Wednesday’s sessions, but they both are anticipated to recover in time for the Trinidad engagement.
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