Bermuda will face Guyana on their home territory this evening in what is expected to be an intriguing showdown as the two zone champions lock horns in the final of the NACRA Men’s 15s rugby Championship at the Guyana National Stadium from 6pm.
North zone champions, Bermuda who arrived in Guyana Sunday night is a confident bunch that, according to coach, Lawrence Bird, has developed a lot since the last time the two sides met.
Bermuda humbled Mexico 26 – 7 and Bahamas 13 – 10 in the second round of the Northern Zone to make their way into the final to face Guyana who defeated Barbados 20 – 7 and defending champions Trinidad and Tobago 22 – 20 in the Southern Zone to reach the finals.
Guyana has successfully maintained its profile as a dominant side in the sport through the Caribbean in both the Sevens and 15s form and sealing a victory in the final will see them have both titles under their belts.
Time and time again they have proven to effectively battle larger sides going against different odds and it will be expected that they will emerge victorious having the home court advantage and a wealth of confidence after recording significant wins.
Bermuda has an evenly balanced squad with some players that have been together for some time along with some new members who have come up through the ranks but they are still tagged as the underdogs.
Yesterday, during a Bermuda morning session, Stabroek Sport spoke with Bird who was excited about the battle.
“Since we played three years ago I thought we were evenly matched but Guyana got a few break away tries which was no surprise to me since that’s where they are dangerous and they will be dangerous tomorrow (today), but we are a stronger team and I’m happy with the development and I hope we can go all the way,” Bird said.
He added: “We have not seen Guyana play at all; we have seen the northern teams play so that’s where the problem is.
We know they are dominant in Sevens but they are totally different games so it just shows what a good pool of athletes Guyana has got compared to us.
“We would expect them to want to play to that strength and that is difficult for us; we have done a lot of work trying to work on defending that but it is hard when you don’t have the speed to practice against, so that our main concern.
Bird reiterated that it is known that its two different formats of the game and opined that there will be less space on the field and it will be hard for them to get through.
“I expect to win. We did not travel this far if I expect to come second, it’s going to be a rough game don’t expect a tea party, but with all of that said we have full respect for Guyana. It’s going to be hard for us, it’s a big pitch, we’re away from home, we’re next to the heat, but despite that if we have the right attitude on the day we might be able to squeeze it,” the coach further stated.
Bermuda squad: Paul Dobinson, Allan Steynor, Dustin Archibald, Thomas Greenslade, Mike Williams, Aldo Campbell, David Rourke, Bobby Hurdle, Conor McGlynn, Gareth Williams, Kris Furbert, Pete Dunlop, Peter Dunkerley, Tom Healy, Chris Naylor, Scott Cobon, Tom Edwards, Mark Dymond, Neville Zuill, Jack Ellison, David Porter and Alun Thomas.
Guyana Squad: Jason Tyrell, Allain Crawford, Rondel McArthur, Walter George, Avery Corbin, Richard Staglon, Dwayne Schroeder, Clive Prowell, Ryan Gonsalves, Peabo Hamilton, Claudius Butts, Elwin Chase, Kevin McKenzie, Breon Walks, Ryan Hinckson, Dillion Downer, Vallon Adams, Leon Greaves, Rickford Cummings, Rodwell Hutson, Troy Arjune and Delroy Gordon