The national under-19 rugby team returned home on Monday from their stint in Trinidad and Tobago where they suffered a 18-22 points defeat at the hands of the home team in a 15’s rugby match-up last Sunday at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
Guyana’s under-19’s departed Friday last for Trinidad and Tobago and were scheduled to compete in two ‘challenge matches’ against the Trinidad & Tobago Rugby Football Union’s (TTRFU) under-19 team and a TTRFU development squad, but only one of the slated games was officially kicked off.
The first of the scheduled matches was set to go down on Friday evening at 6:00 pm against a select TTRFU under-19 team at the Queen’s Park Savannah, but this was pushed back to Sunday in place of the second challenge match against the TTRFU Development Squad, which was arranged to be contested at the Larry Gomes Stadium.
Following an unofficial warm-up game on Saturday against a Trinidad and Tobago under-23 team at the Queen’s Park Savannah, the national under-19 team was all set for their big clash against the TTRFU under-19 team the following day.
According to results and updates disclosed by team manager Peter Campayne to Stabroek Sport yesterday, Trinidad and Tobago outscored Guyana in the first half of the game and advanced into the lead with three tries and one conversion. The home side restricted Guyana from scoring in the first half of the game and went into halftime leading 17-0.
As the teams switched ends on the field for the start of the second half, the momentum also shifted and Guyana were now on the offensive. Two tries from Prop, Rondel Mc Arthur, one from Captain Vallon Adams and a successful penalty kick by Rickford Cummings secured the lead for the national under-19 team as Trinidad and Tobago failed to score and remained on 17 until the final minute of the game.
Heading in the last 60 seconds, Guyana led 18-17 but a fumble on the offence by the national team transferred possession to their opponents and rewarded Trinidad with the opportunity to score as time expired. The Trinidadians grabbed the opportunity and broke away to score the final try of the game, leaving the national team on 18 points.
Campayne further related that the main reason for the defeat was because “the team’s three-quarter line [back row] is inexperienced” and this mainly contributed to the team’s loss.
“Our pack seemed to be far stronger than the Trinidad pack… our team performed creditably for a team that was put together within six weeks,” Campayne added.
He noted also that although the Trinidad team was bigger in stature in comparison to the Guyanese “they wondered how we drove such big men off the ball and gained 80% of the possession throughout the game.”
Campayne added that newly-appointed coach Alwin Etwah deserves full credit for the team’s performance against the larger Trinidad line-up, since he has been working hard with the national team in preparation for the trip to Trinidad.