‘We did not accomplish our goal’ – McCormack

… Condition of National Park rugby field hampered first rugby trials for iRB Series

National rugby Sevens director, Mike McCormack disclosed yesterday that the national rugby Sevens squad did not accomplish its goal, nor the goals of the teams coach, Theodore Henry at last Saturday’s trial games at the National Park.

In a telephone interview with Stabroek Sport yesterday, McCormack attributed the squad’s shortcomings at Saturday’s first trials to the poor condition of the rugby field in the National Park.

Mike McCormack

The field has prompted numerous complaints from the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) to the National Parks Commission (NPC) since it is constantly inundated during inclement weather.

Though some work has been done to the field by the NPC recently to address the condition of the GRFU’s main practice facility, the problem persists and continues to affect the rugby team’s practice, the latest being last Saturday’s trials.

Mc Cormack, who is also chairman of the GRFU selection committee, was present at the trials and was dissatisfied with the proceedings as he related his first hand account yesterday.

“It [The trials] wasn’t up to the standard that we had hoped for because of the condition of the ground. In normal circumstances we wouldn’t have played on it but we had to,” he said.

Yesterday [Saturday] being the first trial it was useful, but we didn’t accomplish our goal,” he added.

He noted that due to the limited time the national Sevens team has to prepare for International Rugby Board (iRB) Sevens World Series in Las Vegas, United States on February 12 and 13, the national squad had to make best use of the ground, since the GRFU has to fit in as much trials as possible within the limited preparation period.

McCormack stated that the trials, which was basically three Sevens games contested by two teams formed from the 22-man squad, was of a very low intensity.

He stated that with the conditions the players were subjected to, it was nearly impossible to fully commit to a run, pass or tackle.

He noted that, himself and the coach were currently focusing on passing and tackling and getting the squad comfortable playing with each other, but with the state of the ground they couldn’t observe those areas fairly during the trials.

“When the ground is like that, you can’t play with the intensity that is required and the iRB World Series requires intense training,” said McCormack, noting  the high level of competition that the national team will be facing at the upcoming tournament.

“Those overseas games are in overdrive all the time,” McCormack said in relation to the intensity of international games.

According to the Seven’s director, the GRFU will now be looking to shift the trials to the Providence National Stadium and will contact the relevant authorities “as soon as possible” during this week.

“We have to review the situation and now look at the stadium because most of the grounds around Georgetown might be at same condition as the National Park,” McCormack opined.

He added that they need to get the  players back in playing form with normal Sevens games as soon as possible since the player have not played an actual game in approximately six weeks.

McCormack revealed that next trials will be held on Saturday and the GRFU will be holding trial games every Saturday leading up to the iRB Series.

When asked when the squad will be shortlisted and the national team for the iRB Series finalized McCormack replied: “We are reviewing when cuts will be made, but it will be as late as possible so we can get the whole squad for the trial games.”

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