Former Technical Director (TD) of the national Sevens rugby team, Joe Whipple has resigned, according to president of the Guyana Rugby Football Union, Kit Nascimento.
Nascimento, speaking to Stabroek Sport yesterday, said Whipple’s resignation was submitted shortly after last year’s Commonwealth Games where he served as the TD for the team.
After a successful stint as the national team’s TD, which began in 2009, Whipple’s resignation comes as a surprise and may be as a result of the acts of misconduct and indiscipline that the GRFU reported was committed by some of the players at the Games.
This led to the suspension of three players after the team returned to Guyana. When asked if Whipple has resigned because of the actions of some of the players at the Commonwealth games, Nascimento said he could not say whether the resignation stemmed from the actions of the players at the games.
Whipple’s departure from the national Seven’s team comes on the heels of a fairly good year as TD for the team throughout all their tournaments in 2010 including participation at the International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens World Series in Las Vegas, United States.
Whipple also served as TD for the national Sevens team when they won gold at last year’s Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games and retained their title at the North American and Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Championships immediately after the CAC and prior to the Commonwealth Games.
In a press release yesterday, the GRFU related that it “is pleased to announce the appointment of Spencer Robinson as Technical Director of the National Sevens Team which will be participating in the IRB Sevens World Series to take place in Las Vegas, United States, on 12th and 13th February.”
According to the release, Whipple’s replacement, Robinson is a former Head Coach of Canada’s Men’s National Rugby Sevens Team and former Head Coach of Rugby Canada’s Women’s National Rugby Sevens Team. He last served as Head Coach of the Canadian National Sevens Team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and is currently Head Coach of one of Vancouver’s leading Rugby Clubs.
It added: “Robinson served as Guyana’s Technical Director, along with Head Coach Sherlock Solomon, to the Caribbean Championships in 2005 when Guyana first won the Championships. Robinson’s grandfather is Guyanese and still lives in Guyana.”
Robinson will join the team in Guyana on February 1 and work alongside Head Coach, Theodore Henry, for final preparation of the team before departing for Las Vegas on February 8.In the meantime, the GRFU has announced a 22-man squad which began training in December last year which includes 10 players who have previously represented Guyana at the international level.
The national squad will play its first trial games at the National Park rugby ground commencing at 3:00 p.m on Saturday in preparation for the IRB Series. The trial game will be under the direction of National Sevens Director, Mike Mc Cormack.
The IRB Sevens World Series now serves as the World Cup of Rugby Sevens. The Series began in Dubai in December, followed by South Africa and New Zealand, the USA, Hong Kong, Australia, England and Scotland.
England currently leads the Series closely contested by New Zealand and Samoa followed by Fiji, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, Wales, USA and Scotland, all of whom will be contesting the USA Round in Las Vegas.
The players preparing for the IRB Series are as follows: Theodore Henry, Claudius Butts, Walter George, Ryan Gonsalves, Elwin Chase, Dane Parks, Avery Corbin, Troy Bascom, Leon Greaves, Vallon Adams, Cyon Kitt, Jason Tyrell, Jermaine Prowell, Mark Burnette , Peabo Hamilton, Chris Singh, Ronald Mayers, Kevin Jordan, Rickford Cummings, Triston Fraites, Claude Allexander, Oniel Charles.