Under the floodlights of the GDF ground on Wednesday, the UG Wolves howled to a 26-14 upset victory over the star-studded Yamaha Caribs to lift the GDF’s 48th anniversary 7’s rugby trophy.
Tries by Godfrey Broomes (two), Fabian Joseph (one) and MVP of the tournament, Rondell McArthur along with three conversions by Lawrence Adonis earned the Wolves, who also pocketed the $100,000 first prize, a historic win for the day-night tournament.
It was the first competition that the students of Guyana’s highest learning institution has won since forming the club three years ago.
“I think this win will be a great boost since it is the first tournament of the year and the first we have ever won”, said McArthur who was awarded the MVP trophy for his all-round play and leadership of his charges.
“We have a lot more to look forward to and I thank our Coach, Laurie Adonis and our supporters from UG, we weren’t expected to be in the final but the team played together and focused on a positive result.”
Adonis said “it was a long time coming and that the players trained hard and are seeing the results.
After the fleet-footed Broomes eluded the full backs of the Caribs unit in the second minute of play, Adonis buried the conversion to put the Wolves up 7-nil. Three minutes later Caribs’ forward, O’Neil Charles scored a try and the dreadlocked Theo Henry nailed the conversion to knot the score at 7 apiece.
In the remaining five minutes of the first half, both teams pressed for the advantage but gritty defence coupled with fumbles prevented a go-ahead try and the finalists of the tournament went to the locker rooms tied at 7-all.
In what looked like an action replay of the first half, Broomes recorded a try in the second minute of the second half and Adonis recorded the conversion to put UG up 14-7. Two minutes later, Joseph put his name on the scoring sheet and Adonis recorded his third conversion to give the Wolves a 21-7 advantage.
The Caribs, the more experienced of the teams tried to regroup and played with more vigour in an effort to push for a comeback victory but two minutes before the final whistle, McArthur drove the nail into their coffin when he joined the party by scoring a try which gave the student ruggers a 26-7 lead. His heroics essentially ended any thoughts of a Caribs comeback. On the stroke of full time, national player, Claudius Butts breached the defence of the relaxed UG outfit which was already in celebratory mood, recorded a try and scored the conversion to end the game with a respectable 26-14 score line.
The GDF ruggers who had won the previous four 7s tournaments along with the star studded Hornets team also were part of the competition but failed to reach the final.
On the path to the finals, UG held GDF scoreless in their fixture and won 21-nil while the Caribs defeated GDF 14-12 and the Wolves 7-nil.
The Wolves will be hunting victory again on March 1 when the GRFU stages a 15s tournament at the rugby field in the National Park.
A Barbecue fundraiser was also held at the venue which was thronged by hundreds of vocal fans.