Dec 31, 2018 Sports
President of the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) Peter Green, has described 2018 as a year that brought with it extreme challenges as well as mixed fortunes.
International – XV (Fifteens) Format
Guyana along with Mexico participated in the inaugural Americas XV Challenge Series featuring the Top Two Tier 2 Teams from both North and South America. The National Team lost to the higher ranked Colombia and Paraguay by uncharacteristically large margins as well as a closely fought final match against lower ranked Mexico resulting in a fall in rankings from 49 to 57.
Lower ranked Caribbean teams Mexico, Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Tobago have gained higher rankings as a consequence. Guyana now plays winners of RAN 2018 XV Championships Cayman Islands on February 9th 2019 in the Cayman Islands for the right to participate in the 2019 Americas Challenge Championships. The loser will be relegated to the RAN Championships.
VII (Sevens) Format
An under strength Men’s National Team (featuring new youth players) participated at the CACSO Games in Barranquilla, Colombia ending out of the medal count despite and being the only team to beat eventual Gold medalist, Colombia.
At the RAN Championships and Qualifier to the 2019 Pan American Games in Barbados, an almost full strength Guyana played unbeaten going into the final where they once again lost to nemesis Jamaica in the dying seconds of the game but qualified for the Pan American Games in Peru.
The Junior Men’s Under-19 Team did not participate in international competition at the RAN XV/VII Championships due to financial challenges. On the distaff side, the Women’s Senior National Team participated in the RAN Championships in Barbados with creditable results, despite failing to place in the top two.
Green notes that they were able to address the long standing issue of the realisation of an internationally accepted facility and have identified the same which will house the home of Rugby in order to move the sport forward in 2019.
The Union was able to run off several First Division tournaments in between preparations and training for the various overseas engagements. The premier Fifteens round-robin tournament, Bounty Farm XV was won by the Guyana Defence Force along with the Hairoun Beer and Ansa McAl Calypso Sevens tournaments, both won by Pepsi Hornets were the highlights of the year.
Development, Training and Education
Despite the ongoing challenges of playing facilities and access to Regions apart from Region Four, as well as migration by experienced administrators, development of the next generation youth players and administrators through several initiatives and programmes were carried out in partnership with World Rugby, The Regional Body Rugby Americas North, the Guyana Olympic Association, the Ministry of Education and a core group of dedicated supporters of Rugby in the Private and Corporate sectors.
Amongst these ongoing initiatives and programs were:
Youth Base Get into Rugby – Training and education weekly programmes involving players from schools and communities (ages of 8-16) in the try, play and stay stages moving them from tag to contact rugby. A Total of 163 participants were registered in three festivals spread over twelve months supervised by the Programme Director and Union Development Officers. Workshops were also held with the input of local certified Coaches and the Regional Manager of the Get into Rugby Programme.
Ran Regional Player Welfare Programme – Was strengthened through the attendance by the National Female Team’s Physiotherapist at an Immediate Care Level 2 Course held in Miami.
RAN Regional Referee and Coaches Educator Programme – Was held in Jamaica and attended by two local Referees and Coach Representatives.
Administratively, the Senior Vice President of the Union was given the opportunity to represent and gain valuable hands on experience at the RAN Regional Annual Conference in Miami which dealt with Planning and related matters.
Finances – The Union has completed Audited Accounts up to the year 2017. Presently the Union is in the red, being in debt to its Travel Agency as well as Auditors. Fund Raising activities have been scheduled for early 2019 to address the issue.
The performance of Guyana’s Men’s National Team known as the Green Machine suffered tremendously primarily as a result of the continued inability to access its only traditionally known playing field located at the National Park the past 18 months due to the lack of urgency by the National Sports Commission’s undertaking to develop an all-weather ground.
Dependence on the uses of the National Park Athletics Field has proven to be unsuitable for the majority of the year as a result of soggy conditions during the rainy season. Also, zero warm up matches and non-existent significant financial support from the Sports Ministry apart from tax waivers have been continuous challenges for the Union.
The realisation of an internationally accepted facility to house Rugby as well as the fulfilling of promises made to support sports must be addressed in the New Year. The Union hopes that the Minister responsible for Sport will grant an early meeting to address proposals to improve conditions leading to better performance in order for the sport to attain its full potential at the World and Olympic levels.
The Executive Committee of the GRFU, players and the general membership join in wishing its dedicated sponsors, supporters, volunteers and stakeholders a Prosperous and Blessed New Year.
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