After six consecutive years of ruling the North America and Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Sevens kingdom, Guyana the former regional kings of rugby were dethroned by Mexico last year.
Last Saturday, the then reigning NACRA Southern Caribbean 15s champions were thrashed 20-nil by the Calypso Warriors in Trinidad.
This run of failure after many years of success surely calls for strategic plans to be implemented by the new executive of the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) along the Ministry of Sport to tackle the downward spiral the discipline has seen over the last year.
Newly elected president of the GRFU, Peter Green and his executive body will need to work along with Minister of Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony as well as other stakeholders to put systems in place to get Guyana’s rugby back to its championship winning ways.
The rest of the Caribbean and the rapidly improving Mexican team have caught up with the locals who were once the front runners of the sport. Now that we are lagging behind, the GRFU and the government needs to plan and implement strategies for the local ruggers to regain their winning formula.
Waving of airport taxes for overseas tournaments is not good enough.
Some of these plans should include getting a nutritionist on board.
As we all know nutrition plays a vast role at improving sporting performance. Having a correct nutritional plan for the rugby players will aid their performance a great deal.
Eating the correct foods that will enable the players to perform at 100% is not hard, but the routine takes discipline just like any other diet.
Rugby training, whether sprinting, plyometrics , interval or weights, requires high levels of energy to perform; as do rugby matches themselves so perhaps the nutritional part of their lives needs to be put under the microscope.
Besides whatever plans the GRFU looks to implement, the coach, the players on the field to the ruggers at the end of the bench need to make changes especially the way they view themselves because they are no longer champions and need to adopt a contender’s mentality.
“I think the guys were a bit overconfident,” said Coach Theodore Henry after Saturday’s loss to Trinidad. “I don’t want to be critical of the players but I thought some of them showed up thinking that just because we are Guyana we can just show up and win”.
The players must put on their hard hats and approach their training sessions and each game with a workmanlike mentality.
The coach must also shoulder some of the blame because it is his job to mentally prepare his charges before they take the field of play.
Fitness is not a cause for concern as the players on the national side are perhaps the fittest of all national teams in the Caribbean as their BEEP tests would show.
“I can’t believe the most experienced line of ruggers in the Caribbean went to Trinidad and got beaten 20-nil, something must be wrong” said one rugby enthusiast.
Guyana will have a chance to regain the NACRA 7s championship in November in the Cayman Islands.
Strategic plans need to be implemented, for the GRFU and the government, the time is now.